Caring for the elderly can take a physical and mental toll. Compassion fatigue and caregiver burnout share many common qualities, and both can be caused by sustained exposure to stress and watching a senior loved one’s health decrease. While in-home care assistance situations vary, the one thing all caregivers experience is significant stress and little time for themselves. Typically, compassion fatigue leads to caregiver burnout. The former is when a caregiver cannot handle helping a loved one, so the caregiver becomes stressed and doesn’t tend to the senior’s needs. Feelings of guilt, trauma, and depression are entirely normal. In turn, this leads to caregiver burnout, which can include physical symptoms like weight loss and sleep disturbances. Luckily, the following 5 burnout prevention steps can help caregivers maintain their health.
1. Eat Right
Eating healthy, nutrient-rich meals can keep your wellbeing in check. Here are a few foods to add to your diet:
- Whole grains are high in fiber—brown rice and sweet potatoes are excellent sources
- Fresh fruit provides energy and will keep you feeling satisfied
- Fresh vegetables, like spinach, are superfoods
- Blueberries are loaded with antioxidants, which ward off diseases
- Beans are a protein and a complex carbohydrate, providing plenty of energy
- Almonds are some of the healthiest nuts you can eat
- Chia seeds are full of calcium, which supports energy production
- Water is essential—drink eight, 8-ounce glasses of water a day
If you’re the primary family caregiver for an elderly loved one and need additional assistance providing high-quality home care, Anchorage Home Care Assistance can help. We are a leading home care agency committed to changing the way seniors age.
2. Sleep Well
Being sleep deprived will lead to a much lower productivity overall, so it’s important not to cut into sleep time to get the chores done. For a sound sleep, don’t drink caffeine in the afternoon, allow yourself time to wind down, and turn off all electronic devices before going to bed. Adults should be getting between seven to nine hours of sleep every night.
3. Take Breaks
No one can be on duty all day, every day. Occasional breaks help you relax and recharge, ultimately allowing you to provide better care to your loved one. Ask friends, family members, or professional caregivers to step in for an hour, a day, or a week so you can have some quality time off.
Families who need help caring for a senior loved one can turn to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of homecare. Services available in our customizable care plans include meal prep, mental and social stimulation, assistance with personal hygiene tasks, and much more.
4. Make Time
The demands of caregiving and work may not leave you with a great deal of time for yourself. However, you can squeeze in some time for yourself to do the activities you enjoy. Whether it’s popping into your favorite coffee shop, stopping at a peaceful park, or ordering take-out instead of cooking on a Friday night, there are plenty of small pleasures to be enjoyed.
5. Avoid Isolating Yourself
Just as your loved one needs to have social interaction, so do you. Caregiving can result in loneliness and isolation, so it’s wise to take active steps to maintain a network of support. Make sure you get together often with friends and family to recharge.
Family caregivers need to care for their own wellbeing. If you’re caring for an aging loved one and are feeling overwhelmed, consider hiring a professional caregiver to provide respite care. Anchorage families who want to prevent burnout can turn to Home Care Assistance. One of our professional caregivers can assist your loved one at home while you take a nap, go to work, run errands, or go on vacation. To schedule a complimentary consultation, give us a call today at (907) 770-0907.