Providing Alzheimer’s Care for a Loved One? Beware of These Signs of Burnout
Think for a moment about how it might feel to wake up in a strange place, unable to fathom how you got there or even who you are. Utter confusion quickly morphs into fear and anger, and your reaction may be to lash out at the stranger standing beside your bed, even though he or she is speaking to you kindly.
Sadly, this can accurately represent an Alzheimer’s patient’s reality. And to take it a step further, picture standing in front of someone you love, while that person looks back at you with no recognition whatsoever. Every day causes your heart to break a little bit more, but you push through your pain to provide the necessary caregiving duties for your loved one with Alzheimer’s.
Per this recent report from the Alzheimer’s Association, an astounding 17.7 billion hours of Alzheimer’s care are provided by family caregivers each year. With the relentless level of strain that can come from caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s, it’s by far one of the most stressful types of care provision. Family caregivers have a number of issues that can further exacerbate that level of stress, such as difficulties with “letting go” of their loved one affected by Alzheimer’s; experiencing guilt when considering nursing home placement; or fearing they may appear vulnerable and inadequate if they seek outside help.
Undoubtedly, these statistics reveal a tremendous need for chronic and long-term respite care for family caregivers. And this respite care is needed more than just once or twice a year in order to be truly beneficial. Family caregivers need to realize that support is not only helpful but necessary, and they need to take a break on a regular basis to be able to provide the best care for their loved one. Devoting a life entirely to providing care for another person can actually cause great harm to both people’s lives. Caregivers who allow themselves regular respite feel refreshed and better equipped to take care of their loved one. And alternatively, those who do not are putting themselves at risk for caregiver burnout.
Keep an eye out for these warning signs of burnout:
- Excessive stress and tension
- Debilitating depression
- Persistent anxiety, anger or guilt
- Decreased overall life satisfaction
- Relationship conflicts and social isolation
- Lower immunity and greater need for healthcare services
- Excessive use of medications, drugs or alcohol
If any of these symptoms ring true for you, contact Home & Hearth Caregivers at 800-349-0663. We begin with a free in-home assessment, and then create a personalized dementia support care plan for your senior loved one, providing you with a much-needed opportunity to recharge. Professional, experienced Alzheimer’s care is just a phone call away.