When a family member takes on the role of caregiver for a loved one, it’s done with the best intentions. We all want to take care of the ones who so selflessly took care of us. However, it’s not always that easy. Depending on the circumstances or limitations of the individual in care, it can be incredibly overwhelming with responsibilities taking over the caregiver’s life. As a result, this can ultimately lead to “caregiver burnout.”
According to a report from Johns Hopkins Medicine, caregiver burnout “is a state of emotional exhaustion that results from failing, wearing out, or feeling totally used up due to too many demands on one’s energy, strength, or resources.” These reasons are understandable, as taking care of any individual—whether a child or the elderly—alters one’s life.
But the strains on a full-time caregiver can alter their life in unmanageable ways, due to the following factors:
1. Unrealistic expectations
According to Cleveland Clinic, many caregivers expect their efforts to have a profound impact on the health of their patient—and dependent on the situation, this just might not be realistic. Patients suffering from progressive diseases like Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s may not improve, thus weighing on the disposition of a caregiver.
2. Intermittent confusion
Transitioning from son, daughter, or parent to caregiver can be a challenge—and comes with significant confusion. A recent blog post from AARP lists this transition to a different role as difficult. It can be emotionally, mentally, and physically taxing on those trying to balance their concerns from both vantage points.
3. Lack of “me” time
Restorative care—or being able to find time for relaxation and recuperation—can be key in the ongoing health of a caregiver. But when that time isn’t available, and the demands from the patient and other family members uses up all of the caregiver’s time, restorative care can lapse. Consequently, this may plant the seeds for burnout.
4. Overwhelming doubt
As detailed in the “Caregiving in the U.S. 2020” report from AARP, 36% of family caregivers have categorized their service as stressful. Part of this stress derives from the doubt that comes with one’s role as the facilitator of care for a loved one. It’s a heavy burden to bear, and can certainly impact the actions of everyday life.
What to do about Caregiver Burnout
Are there ways to avoid caregiver burnout? Of course—and one way is respite care. Cleveland Clinic notes those who can should take advantage of available respite care opportunities, which can provide caregivers a break. Also, respite care can range from a few hours of in-home care to a short stay in an assisted living facility.
For those in Western New York, The GreenFields offers these respite care services, and are available for individuals usually cared for at home. This provides the regular caregiver with a well-deserved rest or vacation and peace of mind. It’s easier to relax when you know your loved one is receiving exceptional care—and within our award-winning continuing care community, this care is the standard.
If you or anyone you know wants to learn more about respite care with The GreenFields, view our Skilled Nursing & Respite Care page today.