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Signs of Caregiver Burnout & How Respite Care Can Help

middle-aged woman sitting on a couch looking stressed and pressing her hands against the side of her face

Caring for loved ones, whether it be family or friends, can be rewarding. It can also take a toll on your physical and mental well-being.

If you’re beginning to notice signs of fatigue or added anxiety to your daily routine, you may be experiencing caregiver burnout. Don’t worry – there are ways to relieve the stress that comes with these responsibilities. We’re also here to reassure you that there’s no shame in reaching out for help.

Follow along as we explore caregiver stress in more detail and offer different caregiver tips for easing the process. At The Moorings of Arlington Heights, our respite care service may be just the solution you’ve been searching for.

What is caregiver burnout?

According to Cleveland Clinic, caregiver burnout “is a state of physical, emotional and mental exhaustion.”

If you’ve experienced high levels of stress in other areas of your life, you may recognize the oncoming symptoms of caregiver burnout. But what exactly causes it to happen?

Because family caregivers are so busy tending to others, they tend to neglect their own physical and mental health. The daily demands that come with the job can have negative long-term health effects if caregiver burnout isn’t stopped in its tracks.

Other possible causes of caregiver burnout include:

  • Lack of control.
    Family caregivers are often thrown into the role unexpectedly and therefore don’t have the knowledge, experience or confidence to take it on. Lack of healthcare and financial resources can also play a part in feeling out of control.
  • Unrealistic expectations.
    When we were young, our parents and other loved ones could nurse us back to health. Unfortunately, it isn’t as simple when the roles are reversed. Many believe that if they put every ounce of hope and energy into caregiving, a cure will take place. This is not always the case.
  • Too much control.
    Whereas some caregivers feel lost in the process, others feel the need to take charge. While it’s incredibly selfless and admirable to offer your time and services to those you care for, it can also be selfish to prevent other family members, friends or medical professionals from lending a hand.

One thing to keep in mind is that caregiving isn’t simply a role – it’s a mindset. It’s not something family members, especially, can just turn on and off.

Now that you understand what causes caregiver burnout, we’ll share the most common physical and mental signs that come with it.

What are the top signs of caregiver burnout?

If you’re a caregiver experiencing any of the following symptoms, it’s time to reach out for help:

  • Mood swings
  • Changes in sleep patterns, especially not getting enough sleep
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fluctuating weight
  • Getting sick more frequently
  • Feelings of depression and helplessness
  • Withdrawal from activities and people you usually enjoy

Don’t ignore or brush off these symptoms. Take action to heal yourself before you can continue healing loved ones.

Five ways to relieve caregiver burnout

  1. Find a support group.
    Avoid suffering in silence. It doesn’t matter who you turn to. It can be friends, other family members, therapists, or caregiver-specific support groups like Family Caregiver Alliance or The National Alliance for Caregiving.
    These outlets can provide a safe space for you to share your emotions and struggles while receiving helpful resources.
  1. Make self-care a priority.
    It may not seem like a possibility now, but if you take dedicated time out of your day just for yourself, it can make all the difference.
    Start small with a 20-minute walk, or sign up for a weekly yoga class. It may even be as simple as taking a relaxing bath or freeing yourself of your phone and computer before bedtime. Taking these breaks can help you reset.
  1. Delegate responsibility to others.
    This doesn’t even have to include caregiving responsibilities. It can be asking someone you trust to pick up your children from school or having your spouse do the grocery shopping. No one person should have to take on the stresses of caregiving and everyday tasks alone.
  1. Learn more about long-term care communities.
    Senior living may be the best option if you feel like your caregiving responsibilities are too much to handle. Depending on your loved one’s needs, many senior living communities provide assisted living, memory care, skilled nursing, and rehabilitation.
  2. Turn to short-term respite care.
    If you need to take an extended vacation or are temporarily unable to care for your loved one, turn to respite care. The benefits of respite care include:

    • Peace for yourself and your loved one knowing they are in good hands at a community led by professionals
    • Access to appropriate levels of care for your loved one
    • The ability for your loved one to make new friends and experience a worry-free lifestyle
    • The ability to recharge mentally and physically
    • Trying out senior living before making a long-term commitment to a community

Discover respite care in Chicago that benefits the whole family.

Give your loved one a temporary home away from home and yourself a well-deserved break from the stresses of caregiving. The Moorings of Arlington Heights provides respite care with all the support, amenities and comfort your loved one needs. Learn more and schedule a consultation to see if respite care is right for you.