In many developed countries, aged people choose to stay independently, despite their health grievances. And family members find themselves out of time when they opt to care for the ailing elders at home. In this scenario, they hire a caregiver. But here is the problem – at least 1 out 3 three caregivers in the USA are untrained, informal nurses or maids. Not every caregiver is trained in a way that helps him/her to deal with caregiver burnout. It is, however, crucial to understand how you, as a caregiver, can take care of yourself while catering to the needs of your patient. Here are 5 tips to eliminate the caregiver burnout.
Ask for help when you need it
If you are not a professional caregiver, you are more likely to suffer from extensive caregiver burnout. Plus, you might be caring for a loved one, suffering from the burnout and not even realize it on a conscious level.
Your body is tired from being the caregiver round the clock. Your mind is asking for some respite from th hectic care giving duties. But you might feel guilty or ashamed of admitting that you too, need some rest and help from those around you.
You might feel responsible for the care of your loved one – and as their caregiver – you might feel traumatic at the mere thought of shunning that responsibility for even a minute. The thing, you have to keep all of your reservations aside and just ask for help when needed.
You can politely ask a friend of your to take the person under your care for on a walk. Or your relative might run an errand for you, picking up the medicines from a medical store he/she passes every day, or getting a few grocery items from your list the next time he/she heads out to a grocery store.
Most people will not refuse your request for a helping hand. Overcome your inhibitions about your role and duties as a caregiver and just ask for help. Who said that caregivers don’t need some care themselves?
Remember that you are a human
As a caregiver for your loved ones, you might feel extra responsible and answerable for the wellbeing of the person you care for. And most of the times, you might be able to provide just the right amount of care to your ailing loved one. Sometimes, however, you might fail to meet your goals. And that’s okay.
You are a human being as well. You might make some mistakes on the way. Or you might not be able to give your 100% on a couple of days in the month. It is alright. You are not a robot who can provide care to anyone, anywhere, anytime.
If you feel the need to take some time out for yourself, allow yourself to respond to that need. If you end up in a helpless position at some point, don’t blame yourself for it. You can only control so many things at the same time. Remember this to deal with the caregiver burnout.
Be realistic about things
Most of the times, caregiver burnout takes place due to your inability to say no to things which can potentially drain you out. You are already running round the clock to provide care to the loved one. There is not much which you can fit in inside your already packed schedule.
Therefore, set realistic goals every single day. Make a list of things you have to and wish to accomplish on a particular day. Prioritize the list. A holiday meal for the extended family is not something you can host successfully while running around to provide care to your loved one.
So, no matter how exciting the plan sounds, if it doesn’t fit in your schedule, say no to it. Do that fearlessly, without feeling guilty or ashamed. As a caregiver, your priority is your patient and your own self. Everything else can wait.
As a caregiver, you are not alone. There are many others out there experiencing caregiver burnout. If you find yourself struggling to provide care for your loved one at home, look out for groups outdoors that consist of caregivers.
Talk to them. Stay in touch with them. Being a caregiver is a hard job. But if you know people who are in the same boat as you, things turn bearable. Join a support group and vent out your helplessness, frustration, or plight.
If your town or city has those special classes that teach you how to provide care to your sick or aged loved ones, join those immediately. Not only will you find yourself more equipped to deal with caregiver burnout, but also easily grasp the techniques of care giving as a science.
Self care is important
They say you cannot pour from an empty glass. If you allow your health to suffer while engaging in intense care giving, then you will land yourself in a hospital or on a bed rest as well.
The best way to deal with caregiver burnout is to take care of your health as much as you care for those in need. One of the most crucial thing to do is to allow yourself to get a quality night’s sleep. Remain physically active all day long. But do not exhaust yourself in the process.
And do not neglect the significance of a healthy diet and constant hydration. Eat healthy, filling meals at regular intervals and drink plenty of water to keep yourself hydrated. Monitor your blood pressure and glucose levels regularly.
Good health is important to tackle caregiver burnout. If you are overall fit and healthy, then you can easily provide care to your patient or your loved one.
You might not be able to gauge the long term impact of caregiver burnout. Your physical, mental and emotional health is at stake. Take charge of your role as a caregiver. But do not forget to assume control of your wellness at the same time.
Dealing with caregiver burnout is easy, if you identify the signs easily and take immediate steps to tackle the same.