It’s a known fact: our caregivers go above and beyond the term “essential workers”. They act as personal coordinators and advocates within health systems, stay collected while combating potential health scares, and constantly provide quality care to a loved one.
All of this labor can seem to be never-ending, and oftentimes is unpaid labor by family members caring for an aging loved one. According to AARP, approximately 40 million family caregivers are responsible for 37 billion hours of care.
With such an immense workload, it’s only natural that some caregivers experience burnout. For those living with caregiver fatigue, the following will reveal how to accept burnout and how to navigate a path forward.
Know the Signs of Burnout
One of the best ways to overcome burnout is to know the signs of experiencing this fatigue. Be aware of when you are neglecting your own needs. Listen to your body if it feels worn down, tired, or dejected. Take stock of any negative changes in which you administer care.
All of these symptoms are signs of burnout. Being familiar with these symptoms can allow you to catch the problem and address it, prior to the fatigue ballooning into a bigger issue.
Practice Self Care
Once aware of burnout, it’s time to take a step back and assess your needs. Are you looking for an affirmation for the work that you are doing? Do you need more understanding from your loved one? Do you need a predesignation of boundaries?
It’s important to dedicate the time to doing this work, as caregiver fatigue is not a monolithic set of causes. Everyone experiences it differently. Thus, once you know your personal needs, the process of overcoming burnout becomes much more streamlined!
Ask for Help
One of the best ways to manage caregiver burnout is to ask for help. No one ever truly does it alone, and you don’t have to either! If you feel overwhelmed by tasks, you can reach out for backup. For example, home health care agencies can provide a home health aide to lessen the responsibility of 24/7 care.
If you are in need of emotional backup, you can reach out to (or create) a caregiver network or a home health aide. These are friends and family members who will work together to provide needed support. The network can offer to a myriad of actions, such as scheduling “check ins” or providing regular home cooked meals.
They say it takes a village to raise a child; but it also takes a village to aid a caregiver. By engaging in community, caregivers can overcome burnout and create a support system to quell any returning fatigue!