Being a caregiver is a stressful job, putting a strain on your time, your resources, and most of all, your emotions. Unfortunately, there is no day off from being a caregiver. Your loved ones can’t control when they need you, and the more their abilities deteriorate, the more they’ll need you. It’s no wonder caregiver burnout can sneak up on you as all the stresses of the job pile up. Without a release, you’ll burn out, so we’ve come up with a list of things you can do to help you avoid that.
Talk to Someone
There are support groups for caregivers all over the country for people to get together and talk about the struggles of being a caregiver. Talking about your troubles always helps, even when the people listening can’t do anything to help. In the case of these support groups, knowing you’re not alone and that your feelings are perfectly normal can be a huge release and help you get back to your job as caregiver refreshed and ready to face whatever challenges may come your way.
If there isn’t a caregiver group in your area, start one of your own. If you can’t make it to meetings, just talking to a friend or relative about the strain can help relieve some of the pent-up emotions. At the very least, keep a journal where you can feel free to write it all out. Writing is an extremely cathartic exercise and has been shown to help with mental wellbeing and stability. It doesn’t even matter if you destroy everything you wrote when you’re done, what matters is the act of getting it all down on paper.
Set Aside Time for Yourself
It’s been said before and we’ll say it again: you can’t take care of others without first taking care of yourself. While many people (especially women) misinterpret taking time for themselves as being selfish, there’s nothing selfish about taking a break to recharge. On the contrary, doing so allows you to come back to the job better and stronger than ever, meaning you’re better able to fulfill your duties as a caretaker.
Many of us want to solve the world’s problems, and even when we know on a logical level that it’s not possible, it doesn’t always stop us from overextending ourselves and agreeing to take on more responsibilities than we can handle.
When you take on the responsibility of caring for a loved one, it can be very tempting to say “yes” to everything. You’ll take care of their day-to-day needs and their nutritional needs and make sure they take all their medication and get them to each and every one of their doctor’s appointments, and handle all their finances, and why don’t you write up and notarize their will for them while you’re at it?
Taking care of a sick person who is losing control of their faculties is not like taking care of children (which is a full-time job in and of itself). Your senior relatives have built a life for themselves that will continue to follow them to the end – bank accounts, credit cards, savings, debt, assets, liabilities, etc. None of that includes the medical needs that can build up quickly as their body slowly deteriorates (unlike children, who are building up their capabilities as time goes on).
Know right away that you can’t handle your loved one’s life and your own life at the same time. Recognize your limits and agree to take on only a reasonable amount of duties that you know you can handle. This will mean asking for help from others and that’s OK because it means all of you will be able to provide your loved one with better care than you could provide by yourself.
Here at Stillwater Senior Living, we treat our residents like family. Our apartments include studio, one bedroom, and two bedroom suites. They are designed with security features, maximum accessibility, and include walk-out patois with a full range of amenities for the entire family.
CONTACT US today for more information and a tour of our beautiful state-of-the-art community.