Recognizing the Signs of Caregiver Burnout

How to Identify, Prevent and Treat the Symptoms of Caregiver Burnout

 

If you are the primary caregiver for a loved one who is elderly, chronically disabled, or both, it’s important to understand that caregiver burnout is a serious condition you may face one day. Understanding the symptoms and knowing how to prevent them (and treat them) will ensure you and your loved ones maintain a healthy, loving relationship.

Recognizing the signs of caregiver burnout

The first step is acknowledging that caregiver burnout is a very real problem that can affect you both mentally and physically. Being a caregiver adds stress beyond the normal day-to-day realities of your finances, work, relationships and family. When you recognize the signs of caregiver burnout, you can protect yourself and your loved ones from the most harmful effects.

A few symptoms of caregiver burnout include:

  • A change in personality or attitude (positive to pessimistic, for example)
  • Fatigue
  • Stress, anxiety and depression
  • Feeling irritable and/or impatient
  • Changes in your sleep patterns
  • Loss of interest in activities and people you once enjoyed
  • Headaches and an increase in sickness
  • Differences in your eating patterns, resulting in weight gain or loss

How to prevent caregiver burnout

By the time you notice these symptoms, you could be well on your way to caregiver burnout. As such, it’s vital that you take care of yourself to prevent this problem from becoming part of your life. Understanding what caregiver burnout is gives you a head start, but preventative care goes beyond that. 

Taking care of yourself includes taking breaks when you need to, maintaining relationships outside of your role as a caregiver, eating well and getting enough sleep, and even possibly going to a support group. Another caregiver may have advice on how to juggle living your own life while assisting your elderly or chronically ill relative. 

When you feel the first signs of caregiver burnout, take a moment to consider what needs to change so you can avoid the escalating problem. It may be as simple as recognizing the burnout and taking small steps to prevent it, like making it a point to get more sleep or taking fifteen minutes to yourself throughout the day. It could go deeper, though, and perhaps you might ask another relative to help out for a while so you can take a longer break. 

Whatever the case may be, don’t let guilt stop you from doing what you need to do. There’s no shame in asking for help—everyone needs help sometimes. Ignoring the signs of caregiver burnout will only let the problem get worse, and treating it may take a lot more assistance and time than it would have if you’d taken action when it first started. 

Treating the symptoms of caregiver burnout

If you’re already feeling burned out and you aren’t sure what to do, we can help. At Foundations Counseling, we offer a variety of services that can help caregivers, including individual therapy, depression counseling and stress counseling. Come see us if you’re experiencing symptoms of caregiver burnout, and remember, you don’t have to deal with it alone.

The caring therapists at Foundations Counseling can help you and your family overcome life’s greatest challenges. Contact us today!