5 Tips to Prevent Caregiver Burnout
According to Carers Australia, there are an estimated 2.65 million carers in Australia, who selflessly provide care and support to a loved one on an ongoing basis. Caregiving can be a heartwarming and highly rewarding experience, often drawing you and your loved one even closer.
However, the stress of constant caregiving can also be emotionally and physically draining, and if not properly addressed, can take a toll on the caregiver’s health, relationships and quality of life.
Defined as a state of physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion, caregiver burnout is common amongst all caregivers, whether you are looking after an elderly parent, assisting a relative with a disability or helping a loved one overcome injury or illness. Follow our tips below to reduce the risk of caregiver burnout:
1. Define Boundaries and Expectations
When caring for a loved one, it is important to be realistic about the type and amount of support you can provide. Setting clear boundaries will enable both you and your loved one to have realistic expectations of your caregiver relationship, which can reduce uncertainty and stress.
It’s important to have an open discussion with your loved one, to ensure your caregiver arrangement is benefiting your loved one without “overworking” you.
In addition, by acknowledging what you can do, you will also be aware of what you can’t do and can be proactive about finding an alternative solution. This may mean sharing the load with other family members (or asking family members to take on more duties within your own household while you increase your caregiving duties) or enlisting professional in-home support.
2. Be Aware of the Signs of Burnout
It is common to neglect one’s own physical and emotional wellbeing when caring for another. However, it is important to remember that in order to provide care that maintains the wellbeing of others, we must be healthy and well ourselves.
Make sure to take some time to tend to your own needs and look out for these common symptoms which may indicate you are pushing yourself too hard and are at risk of burnout:
Increased stress, anxiety and irritability
Lack of motivation; withdrawal from social or routine activities, particularly with family and friends
More frequent or intense aches and pains in your body; getting sick more often
Sleeplessness or insomnia
Changes to your eating habits and weight
3. Ask For Help
If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, it’s important to find someone to talk to so you can reach out for help. You may find relief by talking with close family members, a good friend or your GP. Your GP in particular can assist with an action plan to lower your stress and ease your symptoms.
In addition, the Government’s Carer Gateway website has a range of useful resources such as support, counselling and coaching for carers. Carer Gateway also hosts an Online Peer Support Service or you can call Carers Victoria on 1800 514 845 to discuss your needs and find a local support group.
4. Take Some Time Out For Yourself
One of the easiest ways to lower personal stress is to do something you love. Take a little bit of time out each week to do something that makes you feel good! It might be exercise, reading a good book or starting a new hobby - the options are endless. The most important thing is for you to have an opportunity to relax and recharge.
5. Enlist Respite or Ongoing Professional Care
It’s important to know that you don’t have to do everything by yourself. Professional in-home care providers are available to offer personalised support services, tailored to the needs of you and your loved one. Whether it be a one-time or short-term respite care to give you a break or scheduled, ongoing in-home support, an in-home care provider such as Just For U Care can offer a range of care services to ensure your loved one remains well looked after at home. Our government approved services range from personal care to meal preparation to companionship and more, meaning our experienced carers can take on a range of responsibilities to lighten your load while ensuring the comfort and wellbeing of your loved one remains top priority.
Caregiver burnout is a serious issue that affects both the caregiver and the person receiving care. Caring for a loved one is a major responsibility and there is no shame in asking for help. It’s important for you to take breaks, practice self-care techniques and seek respite or professional care services to reduce the likelihood of caregiver burnout.
To learn more about our in-home and respite care services and how we can assist your loved one, Contact Us.