What is Caregiver Burnout?

Like anyone who is looking after a loved one, you most likely prioritize your days around their needs

  • When they need to have certain medications
  • When they need to go to appointments or social activities
  • What chores need to be completed at their home, and so forth

This may all be on top of managing your own family, career, and personal activities. However, while doing this, you forget one crucial part of looking after your loved one; making sure that YOUR priorities and needs are looked after first. Let’s face it, this can be exhausting and at times resentment building!

Certainly, we’ve all heard that in order to look after someone as best you can, you must look after yourself first. The best way to do this, particularly if you are responsible for caring for a family member – whether a parent, sibling, spouse or child – is to reach out and ask for help when you need it, even if it’s just bite-size bits of help, such as managing with your loved one’s house chores or taking them to appointments. Respite care can provide short-term relief to caregivers who need to take a much deserved break.

So, what exactly is caregiver burnout in the first place? How do you know if you are on the edge of burning out?

Caregiver burnout can look different for each individual, but some common signs and symptoms are:

  1. You feel exhausted all the time.
  2. You become disengaged from taking care of your loved one.
  3. You’re not present and simply go through the motions of your daily activities.
  4. You lack motivation and feel a sense of overall hopelessness.
  5. You feel detached from a situation – any situation, even positive ones.
  6. Your own needs are neglected and not attended to.
  7. You never feel rested and are always exhausted.
  8. You’re irritable, impatient, or short-tempered – especially with the person in your care.

Often, by forgetting about yourself, you forget why you became dedicated to looking after your loved one in the first place. You begin to build resentment towards the activities you complete for them and sometimes the individual themselves. It is normal to feel this way. You may even feel guilty about these feelings towards your loved one, but it is crucial not to dwell in this place.

Before you let your guilt build to much, think of it this way:

What would happen to your loved one if you, the main caregiver, were suddenly removed from the situation? How would they manage?

Chances are, your loved one would find themselves in a worse situation, with a possible crisis on their hand and no way to know how to fix it.

To continue looking after your loved one long term, you need to take time for yourself for your own physical, emotional, and mental well-being. As humans, we all need time to recuperate and rejuvenate our own energy. This is just the way that we’re made since we are not machines. By admitting that you are human isn’t a sign of defeat; it’s really a sign that you want what’s best for you and your loved one. It’s a way of ensuring that you can look after your loved one longer.

Talk About Your Feelings

First things first; get assistance in talking about your feelings without guilt or judging yourself. A professional caregiving company, like Saige Homecare, isn’t there just to support your loved one. They are there to support you and your loved one. A professional care support system is there to enhance the quality of life for your loved one and that means helping you before you burn out.

Professional caregivers are there to listen to your concerns and help you find time to spend on yourself. Many of our phone calls come from caregivers who feel guilty and overwhelmed with the amount of responsibility on their shoulders. In fact, during these initial conversations, it’s not uncommon that we never once hear the caregiver show concern for themselves.

A multracial senior woman hugs a woman with her back to the camera

We are here to listen to your concerns for your loved ones without judgment. Know that everything you’re feeling will be validated and that our focus and concern is just as much about you as it is about getting the proper help you need in order to effectively care for your loved one. We know that a lot of caregivers struggle with starting the conversation with their loved one about getting outside care support. We can help work with you to facilitate the conversation, manage fears, objections, and resistance to bringing in respite relief support.

Setting up a professional support system that you can trust and lean on when you need a break can help prevent caregiver burnout, reduce stress, and lighten the load you’re carrying. It’s important to put your health and wellness first, so that you can rest and recharge.

Prioritize Your Health and Wellbeing

By recognizing, talking about, and managing your stress, feelings, and burnout, you are better able to be there without resentment for your loved one.

By remembering to take the time to organize and accept help for yourself, you can make a big difference in maintaining a healthy environment for both you and your loved one. Having help assessing the big picture – what’s best for YOU and your loved one – you create a scenario where you:

  1. Set your loved one up for better care, without relying on you for everything
  2. Acknowledge that you are important and entitled to a life focused on you
  3. Can spend quality time without resenting your loved one
  4. Find your feelings – now matter what the feeling is – are validated
  5. Enjoy life again

Saige Homecare is here to help you remember why you should always be your number one priority, while still providing the best care possible for your loved one. It’s time to start focusing on yourself again and stop burnout in its tracks!

Call us today at 587-287-1088 to talk about how we can help you on your road to burnout recovery.