Do you know the stress of caregiving if left unchecked can lead to serious health implications? Family caregivers put themselves at the bottom of their priority list. Many even skip scheduled doctor’s appointments for the sake of taking care of their loved ones. They don’t find time to pay attention to their diet or health. As a result, they experience caregiver burnout, but often they fail to recognize that it does not happen in a day. It is a gradual process involving multiple stages. If you can recognize those stages, you could take precautionary steps before it is too late. If nothing works, you can at least seek professional help to avoid burnout.
So, let’s learn the vital three stages of caregiver burnout.
Stage One – Frustration
In this first stage, the caregiver often expresses his or her frustration of not having control over the deteriorating health condition of the care recipient. Sometimes, the cause of frustration is also due to the caregiver’s inability in keeping the care recipient in a good mood. This often happens when other family members are not keen to help the caregiver in his or her caregiving tasks.
Stage Two – Isolation
In the second stage, the caregiver started to experience loneliness. He or she experiences a sense of lack of purpose in putting so much effort into caregiving. Sometimes, this is due to a lack of appreciation from other family members or continuous criticism of not doing enough for the care recipient. When family members are not co-operative or reluctant to acknowledge the limitations of caregiving, the caregiver even started to withdraw from his or her social circle.
Stage Three – Despair
In the third stage, the situation becomes worse for the caregiver. He or she started to feel helpless. There is no longer any excitement about the health progress of the care recipient. The caregiver has to struggle hard to work as an effective caregiver.
How to deal with burnout
If you are recognizing any of the three stages, you must develop an action plan to deal with then eminent burnout! You must start taking care of yourself. You have to make sure that you are getting adequate rest. Daily exercising and eating nutritious food should be important to you. Sometimes, practicing stress-reducing activities like meditation or yoga also helps in avoiding caregiver burnout.
Yes, however easy it may seem to say that you must pay attention to your own needs, it all becomes tough when you have no support. So, try to develop a strong support system of family members, friends, colleagues, or neighbors. You can also seek help from an experienced caregiver or can take the membership of a Facebook community of caregivers to take care of your loved one and ensure your own well-being.