Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Avoiding Care Giver Burn-Out

Burnout is a feeling that people in virtually every profession experience at one time or another. The result of long hours, repetitive activities, or a lack of a life outside of work, burnout is a natural feeling that can be avoided. As a caregiver, you will be better able to care for elderly individuals if you also attend to your own needs.
In order to keep your focus on your work without feeling overwhelmed by your responsibilities, it is important to maintain an active life outside of your job. Here are some suggestions to keep your life full and burnout at bay:
  • Join a professional association or support network that allows you to interact with other caregivers. This will supply the socialization that you probably crave after a long day providing home care services, and it will also allow you to seek and offer support.
  • Do not ignore the signs of burnout, which are similar to the signs of depression. Should you start withdrawing from your friends and family or quit participating in activities you once loved, talk to a professional about these feelings. While burnout is common, you don't want it to develop into a more serious condition.
  • Share your responsibilities with other family members if you are taking care of an elderly loved one. If this isn't possible, create a different focus for each day of the week in order to vary your schedule. For example, plan to take your elderly loved one out to lunch or dinner at least once per week, so you both can enjoy a change of pace.
  • Maintain your own exercise and diet schedule. Not only will this help you stay healthy, it will contribute to a better outlook. For instance, a brisk walk will help you start the day on a positive note.
  • Take time for yourself. Enjoying a few quiet minutes with a good book or observing the world around you will help you calm your mind and relax.
Being a caregiver means taking on responsibilities that cause stress and anxiety, and burnout can be a natural result of the rigors of your everyday tasks. By understanding the signs of burnout and working to address or prevent  them, you can continue to provide high quality care to elderly loved ones.

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