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Are You Experiencing Burnout While Caring For Aging Parents?

Caregiver burnout occurs when a caregiver ignores their own well-being and begins to suffer themselves. A change in season is a great time to reflect and reset. To help you keep an eye out for symptoms of caregiver burnout, consider the questions below and try our tips to help deal with the emotional tolls of caregiving.

Take Control of Your Health and Wellness.

One common symptom of caregiver burnout is decline in a caregiver’s own physical well-being. Stress is a major symptom of caregiver burnout, and stress significantly weakens the immune system. If you’ve frequently been feeling under the weather or find yourself catching head cold after head cold, it may be time to assess your physical health.

Introducing regular, moderate physical exercise into your routine is a great way to boost your immune system. Autumn is the perfect time to get outside and exercise, so in addition to getting enough sleep, take 30 minutes each day to go for a bike ride or even a brisk walk out in the fall weather. You can’t provide care to others if you’re not caring for yourself.

Resist the Urge to Withdrawal.

Overtime, many caregivers begin to withdraw from their loved ones when the mental and physical demands of family caregiving become more and more extreme. However, it’s critical to remember that friends and family are invaluable when it comes to coping with the emotional tolls of caregiver burnout. Being social is vital 1 even during low-stress times, and there is no shame in leaning on those close to you while you’re giving care.

Though being around friends and family is a must, sometimes only other caregivers can truly understand and help you deal with the symptoms of caregiver burnout. If no one in your existing social circle has experience with caregiving, consider connecting with a caregiver support group. Caregivers can find great value in engaging with the eldercare community by sharing advice, stories, and affirmation. Most major cities like Los Angeles and Chicago have databases of local support groups, or you can always do a quick Google search or browse eldercare.gov to find a group near you.

Be Realistic and Fair With Yourself.

The setting of realistic goals is crucial in order to prevent caregiver burnout. Become familiar with the general trajectory of the illness you’re caring for, as well as future variables. Your own happiness is a function of expectation, so know what to expect. You can find more information on how to set goals using the National Caregivers Association’s goal setting tool.

Being a caregiver is a full-time job, and just like anybody else who works long hours, sometimes you need a vacation to regain your energy after caregiver burnout. Look into local respite care services and either find temporary caregiver replacement for yourself or locate a short-term assisted care facility. Go to a fall sporting event, take a day trip to the countryside, and find some time to reset so you can come back rested and be the best caregiver you can be.

Pay Attention To Your Mental Health.

If the answer to any of these is yes, you should immediately seek help from a mental health professional as depression is a common indicator of caregiver burnout. Fall is a particularly good time to talk to someone, as the stresses of caregiving can worsen when combined with the potential risk for seasonal affective disorder that comes along with the winter months.

It’s nearly impossible to avoid stress and anxiety while caregiving. There are certain types of yoga classes that focus on calming mental practices, and meditation has found to be extremely helpful as well. Meditation can help improve the physical, mental, and spiritual health of caregivers. Improved quality of sleep, faster recovery from stress, and stronger immunity are just a few of the many benefits of caregiving. If you’ve never tried to meditate before, download one of the many popular mediation apps like Headspace and Mindfulness. They are easy to use and can be a great way to prepare yourself for a demanding day or wind down from a stressful one.

One of the emotional tolls associated with caregiver burnout is sudden shifts in emotion. In order to prevent caregiver burnout, be aware of the possibility of displaced anger or emotion. Are you really angry about the fact your spouse left dishes out, or are you taking out your completely understandable frustrations of your caregiving day on your partner’s small mistake? Acknowledging your feelings will help keep your other relationships and interactions as healthy as possible.

Maintain a Healthy Work-Life Balance.

After applying constant analytical and logical thought throughout caregiving, try engaging the right side of your brain for a little while. Journaling is both a creative and productive way to decompress after an exhausting day. Many caregivers experience a mix of shame and guilt when sharing their feelings, but journaling is a fantastic outlet in which caregivers can freely and privately explore their feelings. Photography, gardening, and painting are all creative ways to practice self expression while fostering feelings of healing and rejuvenation.

Finding a healthy work-life balance can be tough, especially if you are a caregiver. Many people who care for their aging parents experience the caregiver burnout symptom of “role confusion.” You’ve spent your entire life as a daughter or son to your parent, but now you’ve been thrust into this new position as caregiver, which can be confusing and disorienting. Diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s can further complicate this issue where your parent may sometimes not recognize you as a family member. Create mental boundaries so you can define a healthy balance of caregiver and family member to the person for whom you are providing care.

Make a Point to Reflect and Self-Assess

Caregiving is hard work, both emotionally and physically. Because of this, it’s important for caregivers to know their limits and take the necessary steps to manage the stress and anxiety that come with the job. This quiz was designed to help caregivers self-evaluate and quickly diagnose the symptoms of caregiver burnout. Continue to ask yourself the important questions in order to remain a top notch caregiver to your loved one, and, as importantly, avoid getting sick yourself.

Your caregiver index score and what it means

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Low burnout risk

Based on what you told us about your current caregiving situation, you have a low risk of burnout. You know your limits and you know when to take the necessary steps to manage your stress and anxiety. It’s important that you continue to ask yourself the essential questions not only to remain a top-notch caregiver to your loved one, but also to avoid getting sick yourself.

Learn more about how mindfulness can be used as a way to handle the many stresses that come with caregiving in our complimentary guide here:

Download Guide

If you ever have any questions about caregiving or are seeking professional advice about your situation, please don’t hesitate to call us. We’re here to help guide you through your journey as a caregiver and provide you with any tools or resources you may need along the way.

Speak to a Professional Care Advisor Now!

Elevated burnout risk

Based on what you told us about your current caregiving situation, you have an elevated risk of burnout. You are dealing with a lot of changes right now - changes that would make anyone feel stressed or overwhelmed. It’s important that you not only take the necessary steps to manage your stress and anxiety, but also become familiar with the general trajectory of your ’s health.

Is it on a decline? Be realistic and fair with yourself. If so, it may be worthwhile to start seeking professional advice on how you can plan for the future.

We’re here to help guide you through your journey as a caregiver and provide you with any tools or resources you may need along the way. If you have any questions or are seeking any professional advice on your situation, please don’t hesitate to give us a call.

Speak to a Professional Care Advisor Now!

High burnout risk

Based on what you told us about your current caregiving situation, you have a high risk of burnout. You are dealing with a lot of changes right now - changes that would make anyone feel stressed or overwhelmed. It’s okay and natural to feel those feelings. However, it’s important that you take the necessary steps to manage your stress and anxiety.

A professional care aide can help you juggle the many demands on your plate, and reduce the stress of caring for a loved one.

We’re here to help guide you through all of your options. If you have any questions or are seeking any professional advice on your situation, please don’t hesitate to give us a call.

Speak to a Professional Care Advisor Now!
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Are you a primary caregiver for someone who cannot fully care for himself or herself?

Who are you caring for?

Can you tell us about current living situation?

Is your still driving?

Does your have Alzheimer's, Parkinson's or any other form of dementia?

Has your had any recent trips to the hospital?

Alright let’s get a sense of how you are doing amidst all these changes. How often do you get a good night’s sleep (seven or more hours)?

How often do you participate in activities you enjoyed before caregiving (ie. spending time with your friends, watching your favorite program, working out, reading, etc.)?

What types of things do you do to take of yourself and reduce stress? (Check all that apply.)

How many hours of care do you provide to your ?

How often do you feel irritated or frustrated by those around you?

The next set of questions will revolve around difficult feelings and emotions you may experience as a caregiver. Please answer each statement as openly and honestly as possible.

On a scale from 1 to 5 (1 being completely disagree and 5 being completely agree). Slide the circle to the left or right:

1
1
1
1
1

Thank you for completing the assessment. We’re preparing your results for you. Please leave your email address for us here so that we can send you a personal list of resources and tools to help you on your caregiving journey.

Please choose an answer
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