What is caregiver burnout?
Caregiver burnout is a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion. Those affected often experience depression, stress, fatigue, and anxiety. There can also be a sense of guilt for spending time on themselves instead of on the person in their care.
What causes caregiver burnout?
Giving care for a long period of time puts a lot of pressure on a person, and caregivers are often so caught in caring for someone else that they forget about or ignore their own health. Caring for someone else can be rewarding, but also wear a person down, especially when there’s little or no hope of the loved one recovering. Many caregivers place unreasonable burdens upon themselves and have unrealistic expectations. There’s little or no control over the situation, and lack of money and resources can make the situation even more difficult. It can also be difficult to separate the role as caregiver from the role of lover, child, or friend.
What are the symptoms of caregiver burnout?
Symptoms include emotional and physical exhaustion, irritability, and falling sick often. Other common symptoms are withdrawal from family and friends, loss of interest in things that used to be fun, and changes in appetite and/or weight.
Is caregiver burnout serious?
Yes. Once a caregiver is burned out, the situation is no longer healthy for either party. It might require the caregiver to seek professional help, and someone else must take care of the
I am a caregiver. How can I avoid burnout?
The most important thing is to take care of yourself and get help. You can’t do everything. Taking time for yourself is not a luxury; it is an absolute necessity. Also, set realistic goals when it comes to what you can do, and be realistic about your loved one’s disease. Other good ideas include finding someone you trust that you can talk to. It is okay to have negative feelings, to be frustrated or angry. That doesn’t mean you’re a bad person. Read more about avoiding caregiver burnout here.