We will help care for your loved one when you need your personal time.
Providing care giving is never easy. The stress can take its toll on family members and other informal caregivers over time, both physically and mentally. Out of love, out of obligation, maybe out of a sense of just doing what’s right, you are one of more than 65 million adults in North America taking care of an elderly, chronically ill or disabled loved one. In fact, 50% of Canadians have nursed a loved one for more than four years. Family caregivers average 20 hours of unpaid in-home care per week and 87 percent of them are not getting enough sleep.
You may be coping with other responsibilities such as work, children, and finances and may put yourself last on the list of things to take care of. Often caregivers hide their difficulties and pretend that they can deal with everything. Not taking care of yourself can have a negative effect on your health resulting in sleep problems, depression, and anxiety.
You are on the road to caregiver burnout.
14 Warning Signs of Caregiver Burnout
1. Lack of energy
2. Overwhelming fatigue
3. Sleep problems (too much or too little)
4. Changes in eating habits; weight loss or gain
5. A feeling of hopelessness
6. Withdrawing from, or losing interest in, activities you once enjoyed
7. Neglecting your own physical and emotional needs
8. Feeling like caregiving is controlling your life
9. Becoming unusually impatient, irritable or argumentative—with the person you’re caring for and/or with others
10. Anxiety about the future
11. Depression or mood swings
12. Difficulty coping with everyday things
13. Headaches, stomach aches, and other physical problems
14. Lowered resistance to illness
It is important to remember to take the time to look after yourself as well as your loved one. Be honest with yourself about what you can do. Think about what is most important, and put aside what is not.
Caregiver Burnout Prevention
Now that you know what to look for, here are some tips to help you prevent caregiver burnout.
• Ask for help! Needing help doesn’t make you a bad caregiver. It simply means you can’t do it alone (no one can do it alone). We are here to support you in caring for your loved one.
• Give yourself permission to take breaks. Get out of the house. Visit with friends. Pamper yourself with a massage. Take a long bath.
• Take care of yourself. Don’t skip your own doctor’s appointments because you’re too busy. Exercise; eat well; don’t sacrifice sleep.
• Get up 15 minutes earlier and use the time just for you. Sit with your coffee or tea and enjoy it. Journal about your struggles and feelings. Meditate, pray, stretch. . . . Do whatever you want to do.
• Make a list of your daily activities and tasks. See if you can delegate any of it. Maybe your spouse can make dinner twice a week. Perhaps a friend or relative can run errands or help with laundry. People often want to help—take them up on it!
• Check into family-leave benefits from your place of work. It could take a huge weight off your shoulders by giving you more hours in your day.
• Communicate with others who are in your situation helps immensely, as does opening up and sharing your frustrations—and your joys!
Big Hearts Home Care can support family caregivers and free their time to enjoy life for as short as a few hours and as long as a few days, weeks or even months. We will look after your loved ones while you are taking time off.