Often, serving an aging loved one as a caregiver can be a powerful and highly gratifying experience. But since caregiving requires so much giving, we also need to recognize when we reach the point of having nothing left to give. Here are four signs of caregiver burnout to help assess when you or a caregiver you know needs extra support.
Are Friends & Loved Ones Concerned About You?
Caregivers are wired to think of others first, and that is a truly wonderful trait! But focusing on helping others can’t come at the expense of tending to our own needs. Are friends and loved ones asking if you’re okay? Maybe they’re seeing an attitude shift from positive to negative, from engaged to withdrawn. Listen to their concerns and take stock of how you are feeling. Do you feel stressed? Exhausted? Hopeless? If so, consider getting some additional support.
Is Your Work or Home Life Suffering?
Whether you’re caring for aging parents or a spouse with a health condition, being a caregiver can make your daily life much more difficult to manage. Have you had a hard time keeping up with work lately? Are you seeing dysfunction crop up in your own home? Your caregiver responsibilities may be at odds with your own responsibilities, and the mental fatigue of caregiver burnout can make it challenging to handle even simple daily tasks.
Do You Find Yourself Losing Patience?
The heart of service that inspired you to be a caregiver can sometimes feel hardened by the demanding nature of caregiving and related stress. Caregiver burnout often shows up as increased irritation and anger, even over little things. If you find yourself raising your voice more often, losing your patience quickly, or acting harshly, it may be time to look into caregiver resources.
Do You See Your Physical Health Declining?
Caregivers who have been pushed past their limits often experience a physical decline as well as a mental one. You may have difficulty sleeping and feel the effects with physical exhaustion, or you may have a hard time getting out of bed. You might see a change in appetite and a substantial weight gain or weight loss. Maybe you’re experiencing frequent colds and illnesses, or you’ve lost interest in activities you once enjoyed. All of these signs could point to caregiver burnout.
If you or someone close to you is experiencing caregiver burnout, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. Make sure you have a trustworthy community that allows you to talk about your feelings and vent your frustrations. Get the help you need with senior living Respite Care like Ebenezer’s Adult Day Programs, and pursue all the resources available to you as a caregiver. As part of Fairview Health Services, Ebenezer works closely with Fairview’s Caregiver Assurance program. This unique program connects caregivers with a Caregiver Advisor to provide support and to help address challenges before burnout happens. Visit our Caregiver Assurance Page or call 612-672-CARE (2273) to speak with one of our Caregiver Advisors.
Finally, visit our Ebenezer blog to find helpful articles on caregiving, nutrition, lifelong learning, and more.