If you are among the more than 65 million Americans taking care of an elderly or chronically ill loved one, you probably took on the responsibility out of love and a desire to do the right thing. You probably spend countless hours serving as your loved one’s nurse, housekeeper, and chauffeur. The long hours, lack of sleep, and constant stress are a recipe for burnout. The following are a few signs that it is time to call for help.
While a certain amount of frustration is normal, frequent outbursts of anger or crying can be signs of anxiety or depression. Untreated anxiety or depression can also manifest in trouble sleeping, changes in weight, and constant feelings of fatigue. If you experience these symptoms, it is important to talk to your health care provider to rule out potential medical issues. Your doctor may also be able to suggest support groups and other resources to help ease your stress.
While caregivers may be on top of their loved one’s health issues, they frequently neglect their own. Lack of sleep, chronic stress, and poor eating habits can also lower your immune system and make you more susceptible to routine illnesses. You should make it a point to stay current with routine physicals, immunizations, medications, and recommended screenings so that you can address issues before they become serious. You should also make it a point to eat as healthy as possible and to get at least seven hours of uninterrupted sleep each night.
Caregivers often feel guilty if they take the time to enjoy a favorite hobby or to spend a little time away from their loved one. Most people would never dream of working for a company that would demand that they never take a vacation or a weekend off, yet they place that demand on themselves when they assume the role of caregiver. Even if you just take an hour to enjoy a book and a cup of tea, it is important to take time for yourself to relax and recharge.
Alamo Companion Services can help you avoid caregiver burnout. As a leading provider of home care services in San Antonio, we offer personalized medical and non-medical services for seniors and their family caregivers. Contact us today for more information.