The average family caregiver spends 20 hours per week caring for a loved one, while 13% of family caregivers provide care 40 hours or more per week.* The responsibility to provide long hours of care is typically added to an already full workload. As a family caregiver, you may feel the pressure that comes from being the “Sandwich Generation”, pressure to provide quality care for your loved one, in addition to tending to your own family, your job, and your home. With such heavy workloads, burnout is right around the corner and caring for yourself as a family caregiver is crucial.
Here are 6 signs of caregiver burnout:
1. A weakened immune system- you seem to catch every cold that goes around or it takes longer to get over a cold. Your body needs rest and a weakened immune system is a sign that it is time to slow down.
2. Disrupted sleeping patterns – you have trouble sleeping at night or getting out of the bed in the morning. Rest is crucial to healthy functioning and having difficulty sleeping or over exhaustion may mean your many responsibilities are catching up with you.
3. Crying attacks – your emotions feel all over the place. You may suddenly cry “for no apparent reason”, but there is a reason: this is a sign of caregiver burnout.
4. Disinterest in activities- it is difficult to find the motivation or time to go out to dinner with a friend, exercise, or enjoy a recreational activity that you once loved. With your overloaded schedule finding “time” can be difficult, but a disinterest signals potential for burnout and depression.
5. Feeling Overwhelmed- you feel like everything is “too much”. You know you are maxed out and you don’t know what to do about it. There doesn’t seem to be a way out and you sometimes have thoughts of suicide. This is a very serious and dangerous warning sign and you should consult a mental health professional immediately. Also, talk to your family members about other caregiver options.
6. Feeling Resentful- you feel abandoned by family members and you resent the fact that you hold the majority of the responsibility to care for your mother or father. You are also beginning to resent all the time and energy that is taken away from your family as you care for your loved one.
If you are being stretched in all directions it is important to take the time to examine yourself and your family for signs of caregiver burnout.
Preferred Care at Home understand the importance of quality care. If you are seeing one of the six signs of caregiver burnout know that we can come alongside you to provide respite care so you can get the rest you need to prevent caregiver burnout.
*Statistic from the National Family Caregiver Alliance in Collaberation with AARP
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