The caregiver’s burnout. Is there “overheating” in this profession as well?
As we have already talked many times in Blocks’ blog, our relatives are getting older, they need understanding, sometimes support as well as purely physical, domestic help. We do everything necessary to provide them with care, conversations and activities that will preserve their quality of life and more importantly, the will to live.
However, caring for a loved one becomes more stressful over time and as your loved one gets older, especially if you do it alone. This stress can affect your personal health and we are convinced that you will try to overcome it internally. You will neglect fatigue, insomnia, and lack of free time in the name of your loved one or relative. It is normal because you give all your love and warmth to the person who took care of you as a child (for example). But don’t look at such care in old age as a service you return, because it can cost a lot. Many caregivers (as we will call them, although they have not chosen the profession in their career path, but they have become such by coincidence) are hesitant to publicize the tension to which they are subjected, for fear that their beloved one will feel guilty or afraid that they are not strong enough and cannot cope with their responsibilities.
The so-called burnout, which is perhaps already popular in every profession is not to be underestimated among caregivers – especially if it (inadvertently) becomes their second, informal profession. Talking about it is important if you want to protect your health, so we will tell you more about “overheating” (called burnout below), why it happens and, of course, tips on how to avoid it.
Understand the burnout without denying it
Burnout occurs when a caregiver becomes physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausted. This is a type of fatigue that you can’t deal with just if you get a good night’s sleep and rest for the weekend. It is often the result of long-term and uncontrolled stress. Think about whether you are familiar with this and answer honestly to yourself first.
Why does “overheating” happen?
Think about how you would feel if you worked in an office from 9 am to 5 pm and then ran home to help your loved one or relative. For some, this seems like an “easy” care, as there are older people who need help several times a day or, in the worst case, they can’t even be left alone. Yes, multiply this run from the office several times and at the end of the day think if everything is done well and are you at your limit? That’s right, you partially visualized the picture we described. Overheating occurs when you work, take care of your loved one, and probably try to maintain your own household. In this scenario, there is no time left to take care of your own health – for healthy food, for movement, for recharging. The stress of caring for another begins to prevail and weaken your mental and physical health.
According to an AARP (American Association of Retired Persons) report, more than a third of caregivers say care is very stressful, and one in five say caring for another has worsened their own health. The statistics are even higher among those who care for close relatives.
How will you recognize the burnout?
Everyone looks different or, as people who have been through it say, it “hits” differently. However, there are some signs that are common.
- Extreme fatigue, even when you sleep well in the evening.
- Easy embarrassment or frustration.
- Rapid anger.
- Lack of interest in communicating with people or activities that you used to like.
- Anxiety or depression.
“Overheating” can even make you indifferent or hostile to the person you care for.
How do you explain to the people around you that you are “overheated”?
Telling someone you’re going through a burnout can be difficult for caregivers. Especially if you must tell the person, you care about. Here are some tips to help make the conversation run more smoothly.
- Be honest: If you are worried about going through a burnout, be honest with yourself and others. The sooner you acknowledge it and ask for support, the sooner you can begin to recover.
- Avoid accusations: Even if you think a particular person is at the root of your stress, the reality may be more complicated. Try not to point a finger and do not attribute guilt including (and especially) to yourself
- Think about the solution to the problem: The person you are talking to may want to help. So, give them specifics. Ask yourself what stressful activity for you can be done by another at the moment. Can someone else take care of your loved one? Or can you seek support in a nursing home to have some time for yourself?
Some tips on how to avoid “overheating”
We would say that it is inevitable, no matter what kind of care your loved one may require. Getting organized, prioritizing your own health, and asking for help in a timely manner is all that can prevent or mitigate burnout.
Learn to delegate, assign, or postpone what you can
Imagine that you are the manager. Everything that awaits you during the day or week should be distributed among the members of your team. When writing your to-do list or looking at your calendar, think about what you need to do on your own and what you can leave or transfer to someone else.
Asking for support is not a failure
This is one of the most important things we say to people who turn to Blocks Adult Care for help. This does not mean that you cannot cope. On the contrary, it shows that you are aware that professional and dedicated care is required 24/7 to keep your loved one healthy, happy and cared for. As much as you want to be the “savior” of your own family, if you are too busy with everything else, you cannot give what is needed. This is the reason why we invite everyone to visit the Block family type houses and decide for themselves whether this is the place and the appropriate support for them.
Be disciplined when it comes to taking care of yourself
Taking care of yourself is not just a pleasure and you should not feel guilty about it. Think of it this way – when you’re on a plane, flight attendants warn you to put on your oxygen mask first in an emergency before trying to help others because you’re unreliable to others who, for example, faint. In your personal life, the situation is similar – your loved one needs you. To take care of him, you must first take care of yourself.
Recognize the signs
Find out what the signs of “overheating” are and seek help in time. It doesn’t have to be just depression; it can also be a constant feeling of tiredness or anxiety. Remember that preventing burnout is not just for you. You will be a better and more attentive caregiver if you are physically, mentally, and emotionally healthy.
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