The elderly and the sick require attention. They need people to take care of them. This is mainly so when they are very old, and they cannot manage themselves or when they are sick and weak. The caregiver can either be paid, or they can be unpaid. For instance, family members tend to take care of their loved ones for free, while professional caregivers take care of the sick for a fee. However, both experience exhaustion and burn out. So what is caregiver burnout and how can it be prevented.
Burnout is the term that is used to describe when the person giving care has mental, physical and emotional exhaustion. When they experience this, it changes their attitude and also the quality of care that they offer the individual that needs it. It can become extreme where the caregiver not only goes through fatigue and stress, but they may get depressed.
Statistics have indicated that over the years, a lot of caregivers are facing this challenge. It is a condition that needs to be addressed because it can lead to the abuse of the people that need care. So what are the signs that you can look out for?
Among the main signs are irritability, lack of care, change of moods, anxiety, poor self-care and negative attitude towards the job and the person that needs the attention. When people offer care to their loved ones for a very long time, they may fail to take care of themselves. When they do not attend to themselves, they will end up blaming the job and the individual under their care. Also, exhaustion can lead to mood swings because an individual needs rest, and when they are not well-rested, then it affects their entire personality.
Apart from the emotional signs, there are also physical signs. As individuals may become sick more often, and this is because of stress and physical exhaustion. When an individual starts getting sick, then it calls for attention. So what can be done?
If you are offering care to an individual and still have other duties, then it can be overwhelming. It helps to have someone who can assist. You can hire a professional caregiver who will assist you care for the loved one as you manage your day to day activities.
Rest is crucial. Although it may feel like it is your responsibility to attend to the people who are under you at all times, you also need to care for yourself. Make sure that you take time to yourself, get groomed, rest, eat well and enjoy your day. This will go a long way in improving your physical and mental state.
When you are going through this challenge, it is also advisable to find a therapist that you can talk to or someone close that you can confide in. If you notice that the exhaustion is causing you to break down, then you would instead get emotional support from your friends and family or a professional therapist. This will help with your emotional well-being.