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How to Avoid Caregiver Burnout

An elderly person with a younger caregiver

Many parents want to age in place, but when that’s not an option, they often end up living with their adult children.

Caring for an elderly parent can often feel like a full-time career, especially if you’re already holding down a 9-5 job. It’s something we often hear from customers in the market for a new lift chair: they’re seeking ways to make life easier for themselves and their parents.

In this week’s blog, we’ll look at some of the signs that being a caregiver is leaving you feeling stressed, as well as some tips for dealing with this burnout.

How can I tell if caregiver burnout is setting in?

Serving as a caregiver can become an all-consuming job, leaving you so focused on your loved one’s needs that you don’t recognize when your own well-being is at stake.

Here are some signs of burnout to keep an eye out for:

  • Sadness
  • Feeling tired much of the time
  • Frequent headaches and other pain
  • Drinking too much
  • Drug abuse
  • Oversleeping
  • Lack of sleep
  • Constant feelings of worry or feeling overwhelmed
  • Weight loss
  • Weight gain
  • Loss of interest in your favorite activities
  • You find yourself easily irritated

There are some added risk factors for stress among caregivers, including:

  • Existing depression
  • Financial difficulties
  • Living with the person you’re caring for or long hours spent on caregiving

In addition, women are more likely to feel caregiver stress than men. Fortunately, there are things you can do to relieve some of the stress that comes with caring for your loved ones.

1. Remember that you can’t do everything

Superhuman people only exist in comic books. Recognize that you’re doing the best can you with the tools – internal and external – at your disposal.

Think of ways that other people can help ease your burden, whether that means driving your parent to an appointment, sitting with them and watching a movie while you take a break or volunteering to make that evening’s dinner.

2. Have realistic goals

Don’t try to take on too much. Tackle your workload in little chunks and keep to a daily routine. It’s ok to skip the things that are too taxing, either for you or the person you’re caring for.

3. Seek out resources

Your community might offer classes on the illness or infirmity your loved one is dealing with, as well as resources such as transportation and meal delivery.

You can also look for a local support group geared toward caregivers. This can become a source of encouragement, as well as practical advice from people who have been in your shoes.

4. Keep in touch

Stay in contact with friends and family members who can offer support without passing on judgement. Mark out some time each week to connect with these people.

5. Pay attention to your own health

Your role as a caregiver can mean taking mom or dad to regular doctor’s appointments, but don’t neglect your own check-ups. Keep up to date on screenings and immunizations and don’t be afraid to talk to your doctor about any concerns you have on the toll being a caregiver has taken.

And be sure to cultivate healthy habits: getting enough sleep, sticking to an exercise regimen and maintaining a healthy diet.

How can a stair lift help avoid caregiver burnout?

At Pennsylvania Stairlifts, we know the challenges that come with caring for an elderly parent, either in your home or theirs.

We know you’re always searching for ways to make life more manageable. Installing a lift chair can allow your parents to access the entire house, while removing one of the home’s most dangerous fall hazards, the staircase.

Contact us today to learn how our lift chair collection can make life easier for you and your loved ones.

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