A Checklist of Healthy Ways to Prevent Caregiver Burnout

A Checklist of Healthy Ways to Prevent Caregiver Burnout

  • July 26, 2018

Caring for a senior family member is often an act of love. Many adult children are dedicated to taking care of an aging parent who took care of them. But family caregivers often juggle these duties along with other obligations, such as a career and raising a family of their own. It can be a difficult and stressful balancing act.

The demands of managing so many responsibilities can leave family caregivers overwhelmed and exhausted. Sometimes a family caregiver might not recognize they are exhibiting the classic signs of caregiver burnout until they experience a health crisis of their own. 

Learning more about the signs of caregiver overload, as well as the steps you can take to prevent it is important.

6 Common signs of Caregiver Burnout

Here are six of the most common signs of caregiver burnout you should learn to recognize:

  1. Fatigue and exhaustion that sleep doesn’t seem to improve
  2. Overwhelming feelings of sadness 
  3. Being quick to anger and easily agitated
  4. Difficulty sleeping or getting quality sleep
  5. Unintended weight loss or weight gain
  6. Increased anxiety or panic attacks

A Checklist for Preventing Caregiver Stress

There are steps you can take that might help you minimize and manage caregiver stress:

  • One healthy way of managing caregiver stress is to pay close attention to your diet. Caregivers often let healthy meals become a low priority when they are busy. But eating a well-balance diet actually helps give you the energy you need be a better caregiver. If you are struggling to cook healthy meals for yourself, consider a home-delivered meal service such as Hello Fresh or Blue Apron. These companies make it easier to eat well every day.
  • Stay in touch with people who lift your spirit. A quick call with a friend who always makes you laugh can help reduce stress. Video chat or FaceTime are options to consider for connecting when you are feeling isolated and alone.
  • Moderate exercise is another step you can take to avoid caregiver burnout. Walking, biking, yoga, and swimming offer both mental and physical benefits. You can also break it up in to 10 or 15 minute sessions two or three times each day in lieu of 30 continuous minutes of exercise.
  • Be willing to ask for and accept help. Many family caregivers aren’t as receptive as they could be about allowing others to pitch in or taking advantage of respite services. Having a few hours of free time to take care of yourself can make you a better parent, spouse, employee, and caregiver. 
  • Finally, if you’ve been neglecting your own medical appointments, commit to getting back on track. Schedule an appointment for a physical with your primary care physician. Be sure to tell them you are a caregiver under considerable stress during your visit.

Resources for Families

Part of our commitment to supporting seniors in the communities we serve is ensuring that families have access to the information and resources they need. We invite you to bookmark the Five Star blog and stop back often. You’ll find new updates here several times each week!

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