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How to Avoid Caregiver Burnout with Respite Care

woman experiencing caregiver burnout

Caregivers give so much of themselves, but this can lead to physical and emotional caregiver burnout. When your loved one relies on your care, it is essential to find ways to avoid caregiver burnout. Today, our experts share our tips for reducing the risk of caregiver burnout and finding help through respite care.

Caregiver Burnout Stats

The demands of caregiving can be overwhelming and lead to fatigue, stress, depression and poor health.

  • 17% of caregivers feel their health in general has gotten worse as a result of their caregiving responsibilities.
  • The well-being index composite score for working caregivers was also significantly lower than the 70.2 among non-caregivers.
  • 40% to 70% of family caregivers have clinically significant symptoms of depression with about a quarter to half of these caregivers meeting the diagnostic criteria for major depression.
  • Caring for persons with dementia is reported to impact a person’s immune system for up to 3 years after their caregiving experience ends, thus increasing their chances of developing a chronic illness themselves.

*Statistics from Family Caregiver Alliance

Caregiver Burnout Symptoms

The symptoms of caregiver burnout can include:

  • Withdrawal from activities and social interaction
  • Feeling irritable, hopeless, and helpless
  • Changes in appetite (or weight, or both)
  • Sleep problems/changes in sleep patterns
  • Getting sick more often/easily (or taking longer to get better)
  • Feelings of wanting to hurt the person you’re caring for or yourself
  • Emotional and physical exhaustion
  • Increased use of alcohol or medications

Solutions for Caregiver Burnout

  1. Support groups and/or counseling can be an important outlet for caregiver to discuss their struggles and work through solutions. It may be difficult to share feelings (especially those that bring up feelings of guilt) with relatives. Caregivers may feel their partner or friends don’t want to hear any more “complaints”, so it’s important to have an outlet to share issues like role confusion, hopelessness and stress.
  2. Education/training can help caregivers handle various caregiving tasks with increased confidence. 78% of caregivers report needing more help and information with a number of specific caregiving topics. We offer special tips in our monthly newsletter and many caregiver organizations offer newsletters, blogs, videos and training courses.
  3. Technology and physical tools (assistive devices, for example) can make the caregiving process easier. Here are a few must-have caregiver technologies and some great caregiver life hacks. A geriatric care manager can evaluate your environment and caregiving situation to make targeted suggestions and help you access tools to make your job easier.
  4. Respite care is perhaps the #1 weapon to fight against caregiver burnout. It is essential that caregivers take a break (and know they can!). Respite care can give you a regular break to run errands, attend medical appointments, continue a favorite activity or spend some time relaxing. Respite care may also be employed for vacations or special breaks, and can be done via in-home caregivers or a stay at an assisted living or nursing facility offering respite care. Get our EasyLiving Respite Care Checklist for help preparing.

Contact our eldercare experts online or at 727-447-5845 for help in fighting caregiver burnout and finding great, affordable respite care!

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