Whether in the workplace or the home, being a carer of any kind is a hard job. As a result, carer or caregiver burnout is extremely common and occurs more often in those who are caring for elderly relatives with dementia.
This type of burnout is defined as when someone has emotional, mental, and physical responses to their role, all of which result in fatigue and indifference. Understandably, this can have a serious impact on the person they are caring for and can make the role more difficult to handle.
However, there are ways that you can reduce burnout and emotional fatigue if you are a carer, and in this article, you will be introduced to some of these that will help you keep healthy in your caregiver role.
Look After Yourself
You cannot pour from an empty cup, so one of the ways to avoid caregiver stress syndrome is to ensure that you are looking after yourself.
Aim for small things at first, such as eating a balanced diet and aiming to stay hydrated. Try to stick to good sleep hygiene as well, so that when the person you are caring for goes to bed, you can sleep soundly not long afterward.
Also, try to watch your intake of alcohol and medications and, if you feel mentally or physically unwell, speak to your doctor.
Ask For Support
If you are caring for an elderly relative, you do not have to do it alone. Are there other family members nearby who can help for a few hours a week? If not, reach out to your local authority and see if there are charities nearby that can offer additional support.
This support may be in the form of outings, coffees in a local shop, or even pointing you in the direction of in-home help options. This will reduce the weight on you and help you feel more at ease in your role as a carer.
The internet and social media are full of groups for carers, even based in set locations. This can help you reach out and contact people about resources with questions relating to care or simply blow off some steam at the end of a tough day.
Many of these support groups meet online or in person and will allow you to make friends who understand the situation that you are in and will not judge you. This can be good for both your physical and mental health.
It sounds contradictory, but the only way you will survive long-term in any caring role without burning out is to set limits.
If you cannot accomplish everything in one day, it is acceptable to delay it until the next day. Should you need help achieving certain things, or cannot manage it all, do not be ashamed to ask for help.
There is a wealth of information online and in support groups relating to many illnesses and health issues. By educating yourself on the health conditions the person you are caring for has, you can make sense of the situation. You will also be able to identify if and when issues are occurring within your role or with the person you are caring for.