It takes a special person to put the needs of others before themselves. That is what caregivers do every day. They give their time, resources, their ear and their expertise to help out someone that they love. It can be a parent, spouse, child or friend. In some cases you are the sole caregiver for them.
Caregivers are not Energizer bunnies. They are human beings with needs of their own. At first you may feel guilty for spending time to yourself and away from those who need you. Instead, you continue to tend to your loved one’s care until you come unglued all of the sudden one day.
No one wants that to happen. So, it is time to learn about caregiver burnout and how to prevent it. Burnout comes when your load becomes so heavy it feels like a burden. There is no one to help you and you can’t manage the demands anymore.
First of all, it is alright. Don’t beat yourself up because you’ve had a bad day or just want to get away from the person you are caring for. It’s normal.
As a caregiver, you don’t have to be an island. When you need time alone (and you will), call upon reinforcements to help you out. Ask other family members and close friends to help out with some of the day-to-day chores like running to the store for groceries or chauffeuring a loved one to medical appointments.
Talk to social services. They can suggest companies that can help you with whatever you need. Adult day care centers or recreation centers are places where seniors can go to be with others their own age and have fun. Instead of you sitting with them all the time, they can socialize.
Look into assisted living or nursing home facilities. This is a big step and many don’t want to take it. But, it is hard to care for your own family and a family member who needs a lot of care. Talk with them about a facility before committing them to it.
Have a day off once or twice a week. In that time, do something that you want. Go see a movie, read a book or even simply lie back and listen to the sounds around you. The point is that the time is yours to do with what you will and refresh your mind and body.
All caregivers need a break now and again to keep their sanity. Prevent burnout by asking others to help you and then committing to time along for recuperation.