Many caregivers at times find themselves overwhelmed, frustrated and tired after spending countless hours caring for another person. Feelings of not having full control over their situation depending on their circumstances can creep in unexpectedly. If you do not have a plan to help combat these symptoms, then caregivers can take the fast track to burnout.
If you are interested in learning more about 10 Tips on How to Prevent Caregiver Burnout, check out the links below!
- Set goals, expectations and know your limits.
- Understand the strength & limits of your patient.
- Stay organized & maintain a balanced schedule.
- Engage in daily activities to promote health & wellness.
- Eat healthy, maintain mindfulness, & engage in good sleep habits.
- Find time for respite & breaks.
- Take a daily inventory of your feelings, accept and release.
- Know your Community Resources.
- Find a Support Group.
- Ask for Help.
Step 2: Understand strengths & limits of your yourself and your patient.
One of the best ways to understand yourself and your patient better is to begin a list of strength and limitations. These are areas that you feel you may need help with or potential lifestyle changes to help promote health and wellness in your patient.
Remember that you cannot stop the impact of a chronic or progressive illness or a debilitating injury on someone for whom you care. But you can take responsibility for your own personal well-being to get your own needs met.
Many times personal barriers in the form of attitudes, beliefs, environmental, or physical limitations can stand in the way of caring for yourself but you have to think –
How good of a caregiver would I be if I don’t feel good about myself?
Overcoming these obstacles or negative thinking is not easy but can be a goal to identify and begin to remove or find a way to push aside this personal barrier that is in your way.
Example questions to ask yourself:
- Do you think you are being selfish if you put your needs first?
- Is it frightening to think of your own needs? What is the fear about?
- Do you have trouble asking for what you need? Do you feel inadequate if you ask for help?
- Do you feel you have to prove that you are worthy of the care recipient’s affection? Do you do too much as a result?
Sometimes caregivers have misconceptions that increase their stress and get in the way of good self-care. Here are some of the most commonly expressed:
- I am responsible for my parent’s health.
- If I donʼt do it, no one will.
- If I do it right, I will get the love, attention, and respect I deserve.
- Our family always takes care of their own.
- I promised my father I would always take care of my mother.
Ask yourself what might be getting in your way and keeping you from taking care of yourself.
“I never do anything right,” or “Thereʼs no way I could find the time to exercise” are examples of negative self-talk, another possible barrier that can cause unnecessary anxiety. Instead, try positive statements: “Iʼm good at giving John a bath.” “I can exercise for 15 minutes a day.” Remember, your mind tends to believe what you tell it.
Because we base our behavior on our thoughts and beliefs, attitudes and misconceptions like those noted above can cause caregivers to continually attempt to do what cannot be done, to control what cannot be controlled. The result is feelings of continued failure and frustration and, often, an inclination to ignore your own needs.(4)
Evaluating your patient or senior loved one’s strengths and limits:
This can be tricky since every person is different. However, you can first ask what may be your fears of having a caregiver. Take a look at their medical history and medications so you can fully understand their medical concerns. Aging seniors could have multiple concerns medically, physically and emotionally so be patient with the process. It may take some time that you will have to pay attention and learn what your patient’s strengths and weaknesses are if not already know.
Once you have a better understanding of both you and your patient’s strengths and limits, you can compare your list and create positive activities for you and your patient could do together to help decrease stress and lessen the likelihood of caregiver burnout. Ex. Puzzles, drawing, crafts, cooking, etc.
There may be times where you enjoy an activity and your senior loved one can’t help as much but still enjoys to participate. Ex. You enjoy cooking and your patient enjoys eating. Win-win!
This will have a learning curve for both parties but if you try to stay focused on a healthy balance, then caregiver burnout won’t be as likely.
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