Being a caregiver is a truly noble profession. They come in many forms, some working for an assisted living facility such as us here at Providence House, some within the client’s own homes, and many caregivers are in fact caring for their own family members and loved ones. There is much that goes into being a caregiver and it can be easy for these individuals to feel overwhelmed and eventually become burnt out. Over time, the demands of caring for an individual, especially for those within an assisted living facility, can wear on a caregiver’s physical and mental health. This is known as caregiver burnout or caregiver fatigue. “Burnout” is a term used to describe a state of emotional exhaustion, where a person no longer has the energy to do the routine tasks that make up their day. It tends to occur when people take on too many mentally and physically demanding tasks. This can be quite common amongst caregivers. Taking care of another individual can be taxing. Making sure their mental, medical, and nutritional needs are well taken care of leaves little room for much else, and over time this mental checklist can become overwhelming. Caregivers can feel emotionally drained, especially if they are aware that the individual they are looking after may not be showing much improvement despite their efforts. For example, this could happen if a person is caring for someone within an assisted living facility, where the individual may be used to a steady unchanging routine. Caregivers can take certain steps to avoid falling into a state of burnout.
Taking time to educate yourself about the illness or disabilities displayed by the individuals and be realistic about its progression can be one of the best ways to prevent burnout. There may come a time when they need extra help, and it’s important to understand what the signs are so they get the right care at the right time.
Ask for Help
Knowing your limits is key. Look through your list of responsibilities and daily tasks and see if you can delegate or eliminate some of them. No one can do it all, and remember, you don’t have to do it alone. There is help for caregiver burnout and support to prevent it, especially within the setting of an assisted living facility. Your individual will get the best care if you reach out to others to support and supplement what you are already doing. Some resources to prevent caregiver burnout include other staff and administrators within the facility and support groups for those struggling.
If you believe you are experiencing symptoms of caregiver burnout, please contact a doctor or seek help. Support groups, such as the Caregiver Action Network (CAN) and Family Caregiver Alliance (FCA), are good options for caregivers who want to connect with people facing similar challenges. As always Providence House wants nothing but the best for all people within our assisted living facility. This means taking care of our valued staff so they may provide top-quality care for each and every individual.