Long Beach Senior Home Care Blog

Recognizing Symptoms of Caregiver Burnout and Stress and How to Deal With

By Stacy Sanchez

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Caregivers undergo a lot of stress: it is unpredictable, the workload can be immense and dealing with the individual, the family and your own personal needs can feel like the world is collapsing around you. Whether you’re a professional or just someone who needs to take care of a sick / elderly family member, it’s physically and emotionally draining.

Caregiving is usually long term, it’s even more stressful if the individual is suffering from a terminal illness or is a loved one. Without proper care and support, you are at risk of developing emotional and physical problems such as depression. Your priority may be to care for someone, but your ability to do this will be affected if you’re not well.

Symptoms of Caregiving Burnout and Stress
Being able to recognize the symptoms is the first step towards dealing with the problem.

Symptoms include:
• Reduced time for leisure activities
• Ignoring responsibilities
• Eating more, smoking or drinking
• Difficulty concentrating
• Health problems appearing
• Feeling fatigued
• Depressed
• Irritated
• Insomnia

These are the symptoms of home care burnout and as you soon as you recognize them, you need to take steps to deal with it.

Get Help
Caregiving is taxing enough as it is, and taking on additional responsibilities will take its toll on your body and mind. Don’t do more than you’re capable of, and make sure you have breaks. You should get help from the family to help you out even if you’re the one primarily tasked with caregiving. While you’re taking care of the person, there should be someone else doing the errands and helping you prepare meals.

Speak Out
Let family members know if you’re tired or not feeling well. As someone who has been trained for this you are in a position to inform the family of the situation, if you think there are ways to improve the arrangement and so on. You are not shirking away from your responsibility but looking for a way to improve the person’s condition.

Get Organized
One of the primary causes of stress is lack of organization, so set up a schedule and organize your tasks so you’ll know what to do. Note down your tasks, and don’t say no when someone offers help. It won’t just make your life easier, but people feel better when they’re helping someone they love.

Don’t be Afraid to Delegate
Even if you’re the expert in caregiving, there’s nothing wrong with delegating some duties. There’s no need to micromanage everything or insisting things can only be done your way. Caring for someone isn’t just your responsibility.

Take a Break
Caregiving takes up a lot of your time, but that doesn’t mean you cannot have fun and relax. Relaxing is the most effective way of dealing with stress, so you need to work out your schedule and allow yourself to relax. Whether it’s watching a movie, reading a book or just going out for a walk, don’t deny yourself these pleasures. If you’re stress free and enjoying yourself, it’s going to have a positive effect on your work and the people around you.

The point here is there’s a world of difference between being productive and busy. If you keep pushing yourself to the limit, you’ll get burned out and be more of a hindrance than help to the person you’re caring for. If you take breaks, you will be able to come back feeling refreshed.

You don’t need to set aside a lot of time for these, because even as little as 30 minutes a day when you can relax should be enough. You can read, watch TV, browse the web, play with the dogs, whatever you want. While you’re resting, someone else can pitch in.

Home health care can be easier if you don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Caring for someone is taxing, and there are days when you’re feeling like you’re overworked and other times when you like you’re not doing enough, but what’s important is you just do your best. The whole point is that in-home care specialists and aides need care as well. You have to learn how to manage your stress as it determines how well you’ll be able to perform your duties.

Home Helpers of Long Beach is a locally-owned, trusted home health care agency and offers quality, compassionate senior in-home care services including home care assistance, personal care, companion care, respite care, Alzheimer's & dementia care as well as homemaker services in Long Beach, and East Long Beach.