Strategies for Coping With Caregiver Burnout
Caregiver embracing their loved one

Posted: March 9, 2022

Health & Wellness

How to Recognize and Cope With Caregiver Burnout

If you are one of the millions of Americans taking care of an aging parent who requires daily care, you are at risk of developing caregiver burnout. This very real condition is defined as a debilitating psychological condition brought about by unrelieved stress. Healthcare professionals do not take this lightly—and neither should you. Learn strategies for coping with caregiver burnout.

Recognizing the Signs of Caregiver Burnout

Caregiver burnout is all too common. In a 2020 report by the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP Public Policy Institute, 40 percent of caretakers felt emotionally stressed and about 20 percent felt physically strained. Caregivers can suffer from depression and high levels of anxiety and physical disabilities due to the strain of caregiving. Being the primary caregiver for a parent living with dementia provides special challenges. It’s important to recognize the signs of caregiver burnout and take steps to combat the stress.

Some of the signs of caregiver burnout include:

  • Feeling anxious or depressed
  • Avoiding people
  • Losing interest in the things you normally like to do
  • Neglecting your own needs, including your health
  • Feeling like you have no control over your life
  • Having a short fuse
  • Gaining or losing weight because you have drastically changed your eating habits
  • Getting sick because your resistance is down

Coping with the Stress of Caring for Aging Parents

An important strategy for coping with caregiver burnout is to remember that you don’t have to do it all. Ask family and friends to help with some of your caretaking tasks. You should also seek support from those close to you or a support group so you can process your feelings and emotions. Don’t be afraid to say no if saying yes means taking on more than you can handle.

Make sure you take regular breaks; these are necessary to help relieve stress and restore your energy. Social activities are important, so don’t feel guilty for continuing to do the things you enjoy that can get you away from the daily routine and setting of caregiving.

If you don’t take care of your own health, you cannot take care of someone else. Don’t put off doctor appointments for preventive care. Get plenty of sleep and eat a healthy diet. Exercise regularly to relieve stress, increase energy, and take time for yourself. Regular exercise can also boost your mood and help keep depression at bay. Learn about the Dos and Don’ts of Healthy Weight Management in Older Adults.

Take family leave, if possible, from your full-time job. Removing the stress of work can reduce your responsibilities and free up more time for yourself.

Consider respite care for a few hours or even a few weeks if you start to feel stressed.  When you need a few hours or a day for yourself, in-home services, such as a home health aide or an adult day center, can take care of your loved one. A residential care facility provides overnight care if you need a longer break.

Knowing When it’s Time for Assistance

When the time comes that it is no longer feasible for you to continue as a caregiver, it might be time to talk with your aging parent about moving to a senior living community.

Many adult children have mixed feelings about suggesting a senior living community to their parents, and some even feel guilty about it. Assisted Living and Memory Care communities, like Heritage Crossing,  are not only safer for older people because trained medical professionals are close by, but there are services and amenities to keep bodies and minds active. Many older adults don’t eat as well as they should, but in a senior living community, nutritious meals are provided.

You can do much of the legwork in finding the right place for your loved one, including virtual tours, talking with friends who may be living in a senior community, and checking out the options that will be best suited for your elderly loved one or parent.

Heritage Crossing Assisted Living & Memory Care in Akron, OH 

If you are experiencing caregiver burnout, it can feel overwhelming to know where to begin to find a senior living community that is right for your aging parent. Our caring team of professionals is here to support you throughout the process.

Our award-winning community in Akron, OH helps older adults stay independent and safe while maintaining their privacy, dignity, and autonomy for as long as possible. Heritage Crossing is an Assisted Living Community with Memory Care which means your loved one can get the personalized care they need to meet their changing physical, emotional, and social needs.

Contact us today to learn more about our philosophy to incorporate true hospitality into every service, amenity, and interaction with residents and their loved ones.

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