Caregiving is a rewarding but often challenging experience. According to a study conducted by the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP, there are approximately 53 million caregivers in the United States. Over one million family members are caring for a person with Alzheimer’s in Texas.
A majority of caregivers report feelings of stress, anxiety, and depression. In other words, caregiver burnout is very real and very common.
So, what exactly is caregiver burnout? And what can you do to prevent and manage the effects? Keep reading to find out.
What is caregiver burnout?
Caregiver burnout is a state of physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion caused by caring for another person. When someone suffers from caregiver burnout, they may feel overwhelmed, hopeless, irritable, or disconnected from those around them.
If left unchecked, caregiver burnout can lead to serious health problems such as depression, high blood pressure, and a weakened immune system.
Who is a typical caregiver?
According to data compiled by the Family Caregiver Alliance, the average caregiver is a woman around 50. They spend:
- 13 days per month providing instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs)
- Six days per month providing basic activities of daily living (ADLs)
- 13 hours per month researching care tips, care services, or managing finances
The typical caregiver is working and raising a family. Often they are providing medical care they are not comfortable doing but feel the need to accomplish. One in four caregivers reports supporting an individual for more than 40 hours per week.
What are examples and solutions to caregiver burnout?
The first stage of caregiver burnout is physical exhaustion. Caregivers often put their needs last, leading to fatigue, illness, and injury. Taking care of yourself mentally and physically is critical to prevent exhaustion. Here are some tips:
- Get enough sleep: Aim for seven to eight hours per night. If you’re not getting enough sleep at night, try taking a nap during the day. Just be sure to nap for only an hour at a time.
- Eat healthy: Eating nutritious foods will help you maintain your energy levels throughout the day. Be sure to include plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains in your diet. And limit processed foods and sugary drinks.
- Exercise regularly: Exercise releases endorphins, which have mood-boosting effects. A moderate amount of exercise is the key—too much can lead to further fatigue. Taking a brisk walk around the block or swimming is an excellent exercise for caregivers.
Emotional exhaustion is another stage of caregiver burnout. Feelings of isolation and loneliness often cause emotional strain. Caring for a loved one with dementia makes it easy to feel alone. However, there are things you can do to combat these feelings:
- Join a support group: Many support groups are available for caregivers of loved ones with dementia. These groups provide a great opportunity to connect with other caregivers who understand what you’re going through.
- Take breaks: It’s essential to take breaks from caregiving—even if it’s just an hour or two. Respite care services can give you a much-needed break from the demands of caregiving while ensuring that your loved one receives the care they need.
Mental exhaustion is often caused by stress and anxiety related to caregiving responsibilities. If left unchecked, mental fatigue can lead to depression. Taking care of the mind and body can help prevent mental exhaustion. Here are some tips:
Take breaks: As we mentioned earlier, taking breaks from caregiving is important — even for an hour or two. Respite care services can give you a much-needed break from the demands of caregiving while ensuring that your loved one receives the care they need.
Talk to someone: Don’t be afraid to talk about how you’re feeling with a friend, family member, therapist, or doctor. It can help to write down your thoughts and feelings in a journal.
How to prevent caregiver burnout
The best way to prevent caregiver burnout is to practice self-care. Take time to do something that brings you joy. The rewards are worth it, even if only 15 minutes a day.
Be aware of the signs of burnout and take steps to prevent it. By taking care of yourself mentally and physically, you can avoid caregiver burnout and continue providing high-quality care for a loved one. Respite care and memory care in Houston are also excellent short-term and long-term care solutions that let families return to their traditional roles.
Alzheimer’s Respite Care in Houston
So many caregivers are struggling to juggle work, childcare, and home care responsibilities. Respite care lets caretakers relax and recharge.
Respite care can be a valuable resource for caregivers who live far away from their loved ones and need a trusted partner to provide local support.
Short-term dementia care is available in some senior living communities. People with Alzheimer’s and other dementias can enjoy living like permanent residents with respite care:
- A private living space
- Three meals per day
- Access to community amenities
- Activity time and socialization
- Medication management and personal care
Proveer at Northgate is a memory care community that offers respite care in Houston, TX. Our services lift the caretaking burden from family members. We provide high-quality care with cost-effective options. All of our team members are Certified Dementia Practitioners.
Our signature program, Cherish, allows people with Alzheimer’s and dementia to experience purpose and meaning. With our team handling the heavy lifting, family members can also find peaceful meaning.
Let Proveer at Northgate Be A Resource For Alzheimer’s Caregiving
Our community is designed to give caregivers a break. Prevent burnout with our compassionate services. Contact us today to learn more about memory care and respite care in Houston.