“Caregiver” is a term used to describe someone who cares for the physical and mental health of another person. In the context of senior living and senior care, a caregiver can visit an older adult who lives alone once a week to check on them and perform some light chores, or they can be the full-time caretaker of a senior who has been incapacitated by a surgery, illness, or multiple chronic conditions. Caregiving responsibilities vary greatly based on the person they are caring for, but one thing remains true: caregivers are essential in helping older adults and adults with disabilities live with independence, dignity and a better quality of life. It is vital to recognize, however, that the ability to provide this critical type of care all depends on the state of the caregiver’s health.
What Is Caregiver Burnout?
Caregiver burnout is when the caregiver becomes mentally, emotionally, and physically exhausted. Caregiving can be a very difficult and laborious job, especially for those who care for people who need around the clock assistance. Caregiver burnout can lead to much more serious things like anxiety, depression, and fatigue if the caregiver doesn’t take a break from time to time.
Caregiver Burnout Signs to Look Out for:
- Changes in sleeping patterns
- Weight fluctuations
- Appetite changes
- Being moody and irritable when they’re usually positive and upbeat
- A loss of interest in spending time with family and friends
- A loss of interest in hobbies and activities they once enjoyed
- They seem more emotionally fraught than usual
- An increase in drinking alcohol
- Getting sick more frequently
Ways To Help Avoid Caregiver Burnout
Know your limits and be realistic about what you can and cannot handle. It’s not realistic that a caregiver will be able to take care of another person around the clock for days on end. We all need time to ourselves to rest and recharge.
Join a caregiver network so you can form a support group of people who are going through the same experiences you are. Having people to talk to who understand can really help during stressful times.
Educate yourself about the health issues of the person you’re caring for. The better you understand what they’re experiencing, the better you’ll be able to care for them. For example, if you’re caring for an older adult with Alzheimer’s, learn more about the disease so you can better understand their adverse actions and behaviors.
Alternate shifts with other caregivers you trust. You and you alone cannot be fully responsible for another person with no break. Caregivers should work on rotation to give each other some much-deserved time off.
Don’t forget to take care of your own needs! This includes eating a healthy diet, sleeping well, engaging in hobbies and activities you enjoy outside of work, and staying connected to your family and friends.
It Might be Time to Make The Move to a Senior Living Community
There comes a point when some seniors need a level of care that you’re simply unable to provide. This is especially true for older adults who have dementia or severe mobility issues. Senior living communities are designed to support and care for people who require increasings levels of care, and the on-site medical staff are there to ensure they remain safe and secure at all times. When your loved one’s medical status becomes too much for you to handle, it may be time to discuss making the move to a senior living community.
If you have any questions about how to prevent caregiver burnout, or you’d like more information about transitioning your loved one to a senior living community in NJ, please contact our team today: https://umcommunities.org
This blog was originally published at https://umcommunities.org/blog/what-do-caregivers-do/