Tips & Education

Caregiver Burnout: Recognizing, Preventing, and Overcoming Exhaustion

June 28th, 2022

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Caregiver burnout is a reality even in the best of situations. Needing a break from meeting the needs of your loved one doesn’t mean you love them less, are being selfish, or are inadequate to provide for them. It just means you are human. Recognizing your limitations is important when providing long-term care.

Johns Hopkins Medicine defines burnout this way: 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.

When a caregiver experiences burnout, they are chronically exhausted and overwhelmed. If you feel this way or have any of the symptoms listed below — and even if you don’t — take advantage of respite care through reliable organizations specializing in senior care. CRISTA Senior Living provides respite care in Shoreline, WA, and Silverdale, WA. Find out more about the compassionate, professional care your loved one will receive with us while you take a much needed and deserved break from full-time caregiving.

Signs of Caregiver Burnout

Caregiver burnout can manifest in various ways. It’s easy to overlook or underplay the importance of these when you are busy providing for someone you love. But it is essential to recognize these signs and take action before your health, or the quality of care you provide suffers. Here are some common indicators:

  • Feeling physically exhausted and lacking energy for daily tasks.
  • Feeling emotionally drained and unable to respond as you normally do or to engage with others.
  • Withdrawing from social activities, hobbies, and personal relationships.
  • Being easily agitated, frustrated, or resentful, leading to strained relationships with the person you are caring for and others.
  • Having trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or having nightmares related to your caregiving responsibilities.
  • Eating more or less than you usually do.
  • Feeling hopeless or anxious about the future.

For a complete list of symptoms, read this article by VITAS Healthcare.

Tips to Prevent Caregiver Burnout

caregiver burnout

If you have ever taken a trip on a plane, you know that the first thing the stewardess tells you to do in an emergency is to put on your own oxygen mask first. Only then are you free to help someone else with their mask. The same rule applies when providing care for your parent or elderly loved one. While you are still able to breathe, put your oxygen mask on so you can keep breathing! That means taking regular breaks, finding others to help with caregiving, continuing to do things that you love, and prioritizing your own health.

Preventing burnout is crucial for maintaining your well-being as a caregiver.

Here are some helpful tips:

  • Reach out to family and ask them to join you in taking care of your loved one. Even a few hours a week from several family members will help tremendously. The added benefits of this are they get to spend time with their loved one, the senior in your life has more connection with family, and sharing the care will prevent you from feeling resentful of others.
  • Reach out to friends or support groups to share your feelings and experiences. You are not alone, and sharing the load can lighten the burden.
  • Recognize your limitations and set realistic expectations for yourself. Prioritize tasks and delegate when possible.
  • Schedule regular breaks to relax and engage in activities that bring you joy. It’s crucial to take care of yourself to provide better care for your loved one.
  • Exercise, gather with friends, and pursue hobbies to help reduce stress and restore balance in your life.

Remedies for Caregiver Burnout

If you are like many people who provide care for a loved one, burnout seems to come out of nowhere. You were doing just fine — or at least fine enough — and then, all of a sudden, you were done. But you couldn’t be done! So now it’s time to back up and get some help. Take steps to restore your well-being by doing the following:

  • Call CRISTA Senior Living to find out about respite care services and schedule it today.
  • Ensure you’re taking care of your physical health by eating well, getting regular exercise, and attending medical check-ups. Remember, self-care is not selfish; it’s necessary.
  • Explore stress management techniques like prayer, deep breathing exercises, mindfulness, or seeking professional counseling to cope with caregiver stress.
  • Join caregiver support groups or seek counseling to connect with others who understand your challenges. Sharing experiences and receiving support can make a significant difference.
  • Call on your friends and church to support you in prayer and practical ways, such as bringing meals a couple of times a week, staying with your loved one while you take a break, or cleaning your house.

Caregiving is a noble task, but it’s essential to recognize the signs of burnout and take proactive steps to prevent and overcome it. Remember, your well-being matters too. By implementing preventive measures, seeking support, and exploring respite care options like CRISTA Senior Living, you can find balance and continue providing compassionate care to your loved one.

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I would like to commend Cristwood Park staff on their efforts to protect themselves and their residents from COVID. It’s been a concern of ours since last March and we have been relieved to see so few cases in the Cristwood Park community. I would like to thank the staff and leadership for their diligence in maintaining good protocols throughout this pandemic.

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Exceptional personalized holistic care. Helps keep Mom’s mind active and she flourishes with the nurturing care. Especially of value currently given the COVID restrictions. We are genuinely pleased with our mom's care.

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Thinking back on all the great care you and your team have given her at CRISTA, we thank you for all that. I am sure it made a difference in the quality of her life.

I appreciate the personal relationship I have with the staff and the good communication they give me.

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