May is Mental Health Awareness month, and after the ups and downs of the last two years, it’s more important now than ever to focus on making mental health a priority.
In our unique specialty of caring for seniors, we recognize that caregivers are at risk for caregiver burnout and compassion fatigue as it relates to caring for their loved ones. The transition into the role of caregiver can be fraught with complicated feelings and an increased workload or financial burden that leads to caregiver burnout.
If you are a caregiver yourself, then you have probably felt the strains of that role on your own mental health. Trying to pour energy into the many facets of your life including your family, your self, your career, and your care charge can feel like a fulltime job and leave you feeling like you “can’t pour from an empty cup.”
Caregiver burnout is defined as a state of mental, physical, or emotional exhaustion that can often be identified as a change from a positive attitude to one of negativity, indifference, or apathy. “Burned out” caregivers may also experience guilt when they take time to care for themselves or attend a child’s soccer game, for instance, instead of caring for their elderly loved one.
Recognize that caregiver burnout can look and feel like anxiety, depression, fatigue, or stress. Burnout can be caused by having confusion of what your role in caregiving is, worries about the financial obligations of caregiving or even unrealistic expectations about the course of the illness that afflicts your senior.
Like many other areas of mental health intervention, there are strategies to reduce or prevent burnout symptoms as it relates to caring for a loved one. Start by finding a trusted person (friend, co-worker, sibling, neighbor or professional) with whom you can talk about and validate your frustrations and your feelings.
Setting realistic expectations for your loved one’s illness will also help alleviate the symptoms of caregiver fatigue. Take time for yourself, educate yourself, and know your limits and when it’s time to ask for help. Joining a caregiver support group could be a soft place to land where there are other people experiencing the same feelings of stress and guilt and exhaustion that can come with being a caregiver for an aging loved one.
At PSL, we are privileged to offer caregivers a safe place to land and help alleviate caregiver burnout. Our highly trained and caring staff work with loved ones to provide and ensure a care plan that helps reduce the care load of the family and other caregivers so that they can focus on what matters most – providing love and support to their loved ones during their phase of senior care.
For more information on the signs and risk factors of caregiver burnout, visit this website:
For information on our current open positions please take a look at our careers page