Caregivers take note! Your health is just as critical in helping the person under your care as the care you provide. We understand that being a caregiver can be mentally and physically demanding. It’s not uncommon for the heavy workload to manifest in caregiver fatigue or burnout. Our collaboration with professional caregivers across the nation has given us insight into what to watch for, efforts you can take once you identify fatigue, and how to avoid caregiver fatigue altogether.
Caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or dementia requires near-constant attention. Caregiver fatigue most often happens when caregivers do not receive any additional support or try to do more than they are able. This feeling can become amplified when coupled with guilt over not being able to do it all. Symptoms of caregiver burnout mimic the symptoms of stress and depression and can include a change in sleep patterns, dependence on substances, irritability, and changes in appetite or weight. It’s vital to recognize these symptoms early so you can take action.
If you feel yourself suffering from any of these symptoms, or you identify visible changes in a loved one who is a caregiver, don’t wait. Those suffering from caregiver fatigue not only endanger themselves but those under their care. Seek medical attention to treat stress, depression, and other symptoms you may be experiencing. Getting care for yourself is the best way to help care for others.
Avoiding fatigue and burnout altogether is the best strategy. Create a plan. This means identifying your own support network, including trained professionals and trusted friends or family members, and talk to them about any frustrations you encounter in caregiving. It also means identifying realistic expectations of yourself. Set your expectations based on your own physical health, age, and the level of care the Alzheimer’s or dementia patient needs. It’s also critical to schedule time for your own to rest and education. New tools and knowledge can make care easier, including respite care services and professional care.
Our network of senior care advisors is standing by to help you learn more about professional housing care options when caring for a loved one on your own becomes too much to handle alone.