Millions of Americans care for an aging in place elderly family member, usually a parent or grandparent. Since most also manage a household and job, those added caregiving responsibilities can be stressful and overwhelming at times. If you currently find yourself in this position, caring for yourself is important so you don’t develop caregiver fatigue.
Once it presents, caregiver fatigue can place the health and wellbeing of both you and your care recipient at risk. To help ensure that doesn’t happen, follow this advice from the pros.
Symptoms of Caregiver Fatigue
Many family caregivers are caught up in the “Sandwich Generation”, which means they are raising their own kids while also caring for an older adult. Although doing both is highly rewarding, it can eventually cause a caregiver to feel run down and even “burned out”. If you are a caregiver, these symptoms are indications that it’s time to take a break:
- Feeling physically and emotionally run down throughout the day
- Trouble concentrating on simple tasks
- Getting sick more often, and taking longer to recover
- Abusing alcohol and drugs, including prescription medications
- Feeling depressed, anxious, helpless or overwhelmed
- Sleeping too little or too much
- Rapid weight loss or gain
- Disinterest in activities once enjoyed
Once you have caregiver fatigue, you leave yourself exposed to experience full-blown caregiver burnout if you don’t make some changes- an unhealthy condition that could place you and your relationships at serious risk.
How Can I Avoid Caregiver Fatigue?
Here are several proven ways to help prevent caregiver fatigue:
Set Realistic Goals
Let’s face it, no matter how much effort you put into caring for your loved one, their health is probably going to decline. With that in mind, set realistic goals with the overall objective of making them feel comfortable and loved. For example, make your loved one smile by taking them dancing or sharing some old family photos together. Quality of care over quantity should be a priority while always remembering that you’re only human.
Take Care of Yourself
Keep yourself mentally and physically strong by taking these steps:
- Sleeping 7 to 8 hours per day
- Spending quality time with your spouse and children
- Not abusing food, drugs or alcohol
- Eating nutritious foods
- Exercising 3 to 5 times a week
- Getting an annual physical from your doctor
Enjoy Some “Me” Time
Another way to decompress when you’re starting to feel worn down is to spend some “me” time pampering yourself as a reward for your caregiving efforts. At least once a month, engage in some fun activities like:
- Going on a date with your spouse
- Taking a weekend getaway with close friends
- Binge watching your favorite TV show in your PJs
- Enjoying a spa day, or getting a manicure or pedicure
- Attending a ballgame, concert or play
Ask for Assistance
When you feel the need to take a well-deserved break, don’t be afraid to ask for some help from outside sources you can trust, such as:
- Adult daycare center
- Community volunteers that specialize in working with seniors
- Senior-focused meal delivery and transportation services
- Siblings and other trustworthy family members
- Trusted neighbors or close friends
- Professional respite caregivers from a licensed home care agency
If you feel the need to express your pent-up feelings to someone other than your spouse, speak to a clergy member or join a caregiver support group in your community where you can share your experiences with others who are in the same situation.
Reliable In-Home Respite Care for Seniors in Florida
When caring for an aging in place elderly loved one, feeling the need to take a well-deserved break is nothing to be ashamed of. Contact First In Care, and we’ll make sure that one of our highly trained respite caregivers steps in and provides your senior with the compassionate care they deserve so they can keep aging comfortably in place right where they want to be. As a fully licensed and insured agency, our highly trained aides can deliver reliable in-home services like light housework, meals, personal hygiene, medication management and transportation.
To further put you mind at ease, all our family trusted companion and home health services can be individually personalized into an affordable package when and where you need them! To learn more about First In Care now, or to schedule a FREE, in-home care assessment for a senior in Manatee County, FL, today, please visit us at: www.firstincare.com.