09 May Tips for Avoiding Caregiver Burnout While Caring for an Aging Parent
The rewards of providing care for a senior loved one are incredible. Family caregivers share a bond with their loved ones that’s unlike any other, and this deepened connection, combined with the feeling that comes from knowing you’re making a real and lasting difference in someone’s life, provides a sense of meaning, purpose, and fulfillment. Yet for each moment of joy, there’s the opportunity for stress as well, particularly when a family member is trying to accomplish everything single-handedly.
And this stress can have a snowball effect, impacting other relationships, work, hobbies and pastimes, and our ability to care for ourselves in the way that we should. This can lead to feelings of guilt, which causes more stress, and so the cycle continues.
Left untended, caregiver stress can escalate to caregiver burnout, which manifests with feelings such as:
- Sleep problems
- And more
Although as a caregiver you may decide to simply push down and plow through these difficult effects, it’s important to keep in mind that the senior in your care can suffer as well when in the care of someone who is burned out. A healthy caregiver is better able to meet the needs of the one being cared for.
- Take control. Reminding yourself of the things which are in your control can make a big difference in your overall outlook. For instance, bear in mind that you are in control over the way your loved one is cared for. You have the choice to serve as his or her caregiver, or to delegate that responsibility if you so desire.
- Focus on the positives. It’s very common for family caregivers to undergo feelings of helplessness when a loved one is experiencing difficulties, and to begin to fall into the pattern of thinking, “Why is this happening to my loved one?” or “Why is this happening to ME?” It’s important to break the cycle of negativity and make an effort to focus on as many positives throughout each day as possible. Keeping a journal is a great way to achieve a more positive outlook. Jot down even the seemingly small positives, such as shared laughter with your loved one, the beauty of the sunrise, an enjoyable outing, etc.
- Seek out support. No one can do it all, and having a strong network of support is crucial for family caregivers to ensure that breaks from care can be taken on a regular basis. Talk with other family members, friends, and members of your or your loved one’s religious organization, as well as the professional care team at Senior HomeCare of Tucson, and arrange for periods of respite care.
At Senior HomeCare of Tucson, we’re helping older adults every day to live more comfortable, enjoyable, and safer lives in the familiarity of home; and, we’re helping family members as well, providing them with the time needed to take care of their own needs and to spend more quality time with their senior loved ones. Contact us at 520-355-4787 to discover how we can help improve quality of life for you and your loved one with the highest quality home health Tucson and the surrounding area have to offer!