Read out the common stresses of caring for elderly parents and how those stressed can be minimised to avoid caregiver burnout.
Becoming a caregiver for your parents can be a real challenge. Often, it happens very quickly following a medical emergency your parent has been through, such as a stroke. A few weeks caring for them whilst they get back on their feet turns to weeks, months and suddenly you’re a full-time, long-term caregiver for your parent.
In some instances it becomes the best choice after home care for seniors, residential care homes and assisted-living are considered. There are lots of things that come into consideration during this transitional time but ultimately, family members make the choice to care for their loved ones because it feels like the right thing to do.
The challenges then become apparent as time goes on and often, caregivers may find that the responsibilities mount, and the emotional and physical strain gets more difficult to cope with. Lots of caregivers focus all their energy on their parent which often leads to a neglect of their own health and wellbeing.
Although 74 percent of caregivers say that caregiving has a negative impact on their health, many ignore any scary signs and symptoms that need attention because they are so focused on providing care to their parent. There is a 23 percent increased risk of a stroke as a caregiver, and yet, many caregivers simply wouldn’t notice any warning signs because of their role.
It isn’t too much of a surprise that caregivers can struggle to take care of themselves when there are so many responsibilities that come with their role. Many caregivers looking after their parent also have to take care of their own children, the home they run, jobs and pets, and other day to day tasks. That is a lot for anybody to take on, and understandably it can be extremely stressful.
Avoiding Caregiver Burnout
Caregiver burnout is where a caregiver is so exhausted and burnt out they are suffering a breakdown. This is a negative situation for all involved as a caregiver is unable to provide the kind of care they want to provide to their loved one and their own health is suffering at the same time. Burnout can take years to recover from and it is best avoided in any way possible. Here are some key tips for avoiding caregiver burnout:
- Keep a routine so that you have control over what happens day to day
- Don’t be afraid to delegate tasks and jobs to friends and loved ones
- Ask for help when you need it whether that is with home care for respite, from friends, external programmes or from your GP
- Keep your body and mind as healthy as possible – remember to eat healthily
- Reach out if you think you might be suffering from depression
- If therapy is available to you, take that option or at least speak to a friend
It may also be worth thinking about in home care as the next step for your parent. If you know that you need more help that respite care, and you would like professional carer help that is shaped to your individual needs, then perhaps in home care is a good option for you. Take a look at The Live-in Care Hub (www.liveincarehub.co.uk) for more information about live-in care and consider speaking to your GP about getting a care assessment, the first step in arranging care and getting help with the cost of live-in care. There is nothing wrong with admitting that you need help, especially if it protects the wellbeing of you and your elderly loved one.