There might come a time in your life when the roles between you and your parents are reversed. You will become their caregiver to make sure they’re eating right, taking their medications and staying safe. Being a caregiver can start with visits to your loved one’s home or by having them move in with you. In either scenario, it will become a major focus in your life and one that can occasionally lead to burnout. That won’t be good for you or your loved one. Here are some of the ways to avoid caregiver burnout:
If the person you’re caring for has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, then you’ll need to get educated about what to expect. This is a progressive disease that develops at a different pace for every patient. However, there are some common behavior patterns that you can be on the look out for. The Alzheimer’s Association is a good place to start with your research.
Make Breaks a Priority
Being a caregiver of a loved one is very close to being a full time “job.” As such, you will need to make breaks a priority. Unlike a 9-5 job where you might be able to snag a 15-minute coffee break, your breaks as a caregiver should be more purposeful. Try to schedule a few hours, a full day or even a weekend off. That will mean enlisting the help of other family members or professional services to “take over” while you’re stepping back for the break. These regular breaks will go a long way towards keeping you physically and emotionally healthy.
Ask for Help
It is not uncommon for family caregivers to feel like they’re doing this all alone. That is why it is important to ask for and accept help. There might be friends or other members of the family who recognize what you’re going through and will offer to take over for a few hours or maybe run some errands for you. This is no time to feel guilty. Take all help that is given. When it seems like no one is stepping up, then you’ll have to ask. You might be doing such a good job as caregiver that the folks around you don’t think you need help. Let them know you do.
Expand Your Support System
The help you get from your family and friends is vital but that shouldn’t be your only support system. There are countless people going through the exact same things that you’re going through. You’ll find these people have formed support groups both in your community and online through social media. Seek them out and share your experiences. It is very comforting to know you’re not in this experience alone.
Keep Up with Your Own Health
You have to stay in good shape in order to be a caregiver. That means making time for your own physical activities like exercise and eating a healthy diet. You should be doing that anyway but now that someone is depending on you for their care, you can’t afford to let your health falter.