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Coping with Caregiver Burnout

As our loved ones get older, become ill or disabled, they may often rely on us more often to take care of them. However, you may wonder with all of the extra obligations, who will be taking care of you? 

Many caregivers are often overlooked, and their emotional needs go unmet. Most of us tend to neglect that like the people they give so much of themselves to care for, they also need care of their own. 

Here are some ways to recognize caregiver burnout and how you can help those who may be struggling with caregiver burnout. 

What Is Caregiver Burnout? 

Caregiver Burnout is described as a state of physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion experienced by individuals who provide care for a loved one, typically someone who is ill, disabled, or elderly. 

It occurs usually when the demands of caregiving become overwhelming and exceed the caregiver’s ability to cope effectively. 

According to a report by the AARP and the National Alliance for Caregiving, caregiver burnout affects around 36% of the 53 million unpaid family caregivers in the U.S.

What Are Some Signs Of Caregiver Burnout? 

Signs of caregiver burnout can include but are not limited to: 

  • Chronic fatigue or exhaustion
  • Emotional distress, including sadness, anxiety, or depression.
  • Feelings of frustration or increased irritability.
  • Difficulty concentrating or making decisions.
  • Feelings of anger and resentment toward the care recipient or others involved in caregiving.

How To Cope With Caregiver Burnout 

There are various ways to cope with caregiver burnout, including: 

Taking regular breaks 

Schedule breaks from caregiving to rest and recharge. 

Seek support 

Reach out to friends, family members and support groups for emotional support and understanding. 

If you are a caregiver seeking additional support, check out support groups that are available in your local area. 

Prioritize self-care 

You are in no shape to care for others unless you are caring for yourself. Make time for activities that promote your physical, mental, and emotional well-being, such as exercise, hobbies, and spending time with loved ones. 

Set boundaries

It is perfectly acceptable to turn down any additional responsibilities and demands while caregiving that will only worsen burnout. Set realistic expectations for yourself and others involved in caregiving.

How To Support The Caregivers In Your Life 

Caregivers provide more than most of us can even fathom. If you know any caregivers in your life, you can help them out and extend your support by: 

Offer assistance 

Offer to assist with specific tasks or responsibilities, such as running errands, preparing meals, providing transportation, or helping with household chores. Even small gestures of assistance can lighten the caregiver’s load and make a meaningful difference. 

Coordinate support 

Work with other friends, family members, or community members to coordinate support for the caregiver. This could involve setting up a schedule for visiting or providing assistance, organizing meals, or arranging for professional respite care services. 

Listen and validate their emotions

Sometimes the best help you can provide is a listening ear. Be there to listen to the caregivers in your life and validate their experiences without judgment.

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