Caregivers are notorious for neglecting their own wants and needs. Instead of asking for help, they shoulder the burden alone and, ultimately, end up resenting senior loved ones or other family members. This kind of scenario can quickly lead to caregiver burnout, completely souring your feelings toward an occupation that was once important and worthwhile.
Once your outlook toward the act of caregiving is altered, it can be very difficult to put it back in perspective. You may feel like you’re in this all alone, slowly watching the world pass you by. As hard as you try, there’s just no ignoring the signs. You’re burned out.
Senior caregivers face unique challenges in the face of burnout. Your actions (or inactions) have the ability to negatively affect seniors in your care. For example, many caregivers continue to provide care for loved ones, opting to bury or ignore the signs of caregiver burnout. Some begin cutting corners with daily activities, while others resort to daydreaming and wishing for a vacation. Either way, seniors are the ones who suffer the consequences of caregiver burnout.
Common Signs of Burnout
As humans, we express ourselves in a distinct manner. While you may show emotion freely, someone else might prefer to stifle their feelings. Despite the many different ways of expressing yourself, there are some universal signs and symptoms that signal caregiver burnout. Let’s take a look at a few of the most common signals.
- Isolation: Senior caregivers devote massive amounts of time to caring for a loved one. You can actually feel obligated to care for an aging parent, putting your own life plans on an indefinite hold. After a short period of time, your whole world can revolve around caring for others. You no longer make an effort to socialize or decompress.
- Unhealthy lifestyle: Many caregivers become overwhelmed when caring for a loved one. It’s a very stressful occupation. When high levels of stress and anxiety are present, people begin to make poor decisions. Many senior caregivers admit they follow a poor diet, often skipping meals or binge eating on a regular basis. This habit is particularly dangerous, as the human body needs a steady supply of healthy foods in order to function properly.
- Unhealthy sleeping habits: Poor sleep habits can also be a sign of caregiver burnout. If you’re always tired, no matter how much sleep you get, or you find it almost impossible to fall asleep at night, your sleep patterns are suffering. For senior caregivers, when sleep is elusive, stress is commonly the culprit.
If you’re a caregiver who’s experiencing the common signs of burnout, seek help from family members or local organizations that specialize in senior care.
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