Caregiver burnout is a very real state that can affect anyone providing care for a loved one. More than one-third of caregivers continue to provide intense care to others while suffering from poor health themselves. Older spousal caregivers (age 66-96) who experience caregiving-related stress have a 63% higher mortality rate than non-caregivers of the same age. Try to avoid caregiver stress or burnout with these 8 tips.
- Set Reasonable Goals – Set monthly goals such as scheduling and paying bills. Weekly goals such as laundry days and daily goals such as washing dishes. But don’t stress if something doesn’t get done right away. Be sure that goals are reasonable and are not overwhelming.
- Know Your Limits – Know when to STOP! Know when to simply SLOW DOWN! Know that it’s OK not to always meet every goal! Know your own limits.
- Understand What You’re Dealing With – Understand what your caregiver duties are. Learn about your loved one’s condition. Try to understand and empathize with their emotions. Understand what you’re dealing with may help you set your own limits and reasonable goals!
- Learn to Accept Your Feelings – It’s OK to feel guilt, anger, irritability, stress and resentment. Negative feelings are part of caregiving. Understand these feelings and learning to accept them may help in finding coping mechanisms.
- Reach Out and Trust Someone – Though, not always easy, it is important to reach out and learn to trust someone. Fostering relationships outside of the caregiver-caretaker relationship may help prevent isolation and could serve as a great way to help cope with stress.
- Find A Support Group – Find a support group to meet other caregivers in similar situations. While having friends and other close relationships is great; they may not understand the challenges of being a caregiver. Check out a local support group or online communities; i.e. Facebook Groups or Blogs.
- Stay Healthy and Positive – Aim for walks after dinner, Pilates or Yoga sessions. Join a gym and participate in group workout sessions.
- Be Realistic – Be realistic in every aspect of caregiving. You may know your loved one has memory problems; is it feasible to expect them to remember every chore?