Taking care of sick and dependent people requires a lot of commitment and dedication and can lead to burnout.
This blog post is specifically about people who are taking care of sick, old or incapacitated people who need 24/7 care. At help4u.today, we recognize the effort that goes into caring for another person. We wish the carers to be healthy and mentally strong. We hope this post will warn carers about burnouts and help them to prevent it and provide them with guidance to avoid it.
Caregivers who take care of people physically or mentally unable to take care of themselves have a huge burden to bear. Such people are often under stressful conditions for prolonged periods of time which can lead to mental, emotional and physical exhaustion, leading to the symptoms that we now know as caretaker burnout. When a caretaker reaches the burnout state, they cease to be their positive, upbeat and caring selves. They may become resentful and may show a lack of empathy towards the person they are caring for. This state can be detrimental to the patient as well as the caregiver and should be avoided.
How Caregivers Reach The Burnout State
As already mentioned above, the caregivers undergo a lot of stress and strain. They have a lot to look after while caring for another person. Often the caregiver may be the sole person available for the patient, this may contribute to already existing stress of having a loved one sick and incapacitated. When the caregiver is a close friend or relative of the patient, there is also the emotional stress involved. The act of taking care of someone also often leads to financial burden, which adds to the stress level.
The caregivers are so busy looking after their charges that they often neglect to look after themselves. Thus they need help and support, so they can share the burden of caring with other people and get some time for themselves. When a caregiver doesn’t have adequate help and support they can fall sick and become burnt out and unable to take care of the patient.
Symptoms of Carer Burnout
When a caregiver reaches the burnout stage, they can become high strung, extremely emotional, constantly fatigued, irritable, and suffer from anxiety and depression.
When a caregiver is approaching the burnout stage, the symptoms can be very similar to those of people suffering from depression. The most common symptoms are: Feeling of guilt: The carer feels guilty of not being able to take better care of the person they are looking after. They do not want to spend time on themselves believing that they are neglecting their patient. * Feeling of Helplessness: Caregivers approaching the burnout state often feel totally helpless and losing control of the situation. No matter what they do seems insufficient and they start becoming stressed for not being able to keep up or be in control of the situation. * Feeling irritable: Too much stress can make a person short tempered and easily irritable. Things that the carer did with pleasure before, now seem to be a burden. * Negativity: Being unable to see the light at the end of the trouble and self-pity followed by self-loathing is another symptom of a carer approaching burn out stage. * Withdrawal from Society: When a caregiver stops enjoying the company of other people, friends or family, they are approaching burn out. * Lack of interest: Caregivers who are burned out, have no interest in any of the activities that they previously enjoyed. They give up their hobbies and are listless and disinterested in the happenings around them. * Lack of Appetite: Burned out caregivers lose their appetites and do not want to eat. As a result, they are malnourished and lose weight. * Change in sleeping pattern: another indicator of burnout is a change in sleep pattern. When a caregiver either sleeps too much or too little, it is a clear indication that they are stressed and reaching the end of their limits. Sleep deprivation is a common symptom of burn out. * Lack of Exercise: when a caregiver stops being active and exercising or taking care of themselves, they need to be aware that they may be too exhausted taking care of the patient to look after themselves. This is a warning sign of burnout. * Substance Abuse: In order to cope with the stress and strain, caregivers often resort to alcohol, medication or other substance abuse. If not checked in time this can lead to serious addictions. * Emotional Upheavals: Caregivers who are at the end of their tether often give in to thoughts of either hurting themselves or to hurt the patient. This could even lead to thoughts of killing the patient or committing suicide to get out of the situation.
Preventing Caregiver Burnout
If you are a caregiver and looking after someone who is incapacitated, you need to take care of yourself and prevent burn out. This is for the benefit of the person you are caring for as well as you yourself.
There are many ways you can prevent burnout and all of them have to do with taking care of yourself first before taking care of anyone else. Here is what you can do to help yourself prevent burn out.
Have someone share the caring: One person alone cannot be expected to do all the caring for a person who is unable to do so. If there are other family members around, you may decide on a schedule that would equally divide the burden of caring with other people. In case you do not have anyone at home, consider hiring someone. Living in Dubai, you have the option of paying someone to take care of your patient. There are many agencies offering care services for old and incapacitated. You can navigate to the help4u.today website to find a suitable and affordable caregiver in Dubai. The listing service has many participating agencies that offer many different domestic services including caregiving. You can search through the participating agency to one that suits your budget and time. Since it allows you to search online caregivers, you do not have to go out looking for one. With help4u.today, you can be sure that you are hiring a reliable and efficient caregiver or nurse and take time off for yourself. One of the most important ways to avoid caregiver burnout is by taking time out of caring and devoting it to yourself. That is what help4u.today enables you to do.
Spend time on yourself: Take time off the caring to spend it on yourself. Pursue your hobby and take a complete break from the patient for a few hours each day. Being constantly in the presence of one person can get depressing and monotonous not only for you but also for the patient. Have friends and family drop in for a change. Take a break and go away for a few days to spend some time to unwind yourself. Hire a full-time carer from help4u.today and leave all the caring to them. Go away unwind and have a vacation. You will feel immensely better when you return and will be more willing to care for your patient.
Do not feel guilty: There is no need for you to feel guilty about taking time out for yourself. You need it in order to avoid being burnt out. Every time you feel guilty, just remind yourself of this fact. Do not let others make a martyr out of you. Do as much as you can and for the rest, get help. If you are financially burdened and cannot afford a carer, you can still make time for yourself by taking a walk every day, going out and meeting people and pursuing a hobby that could also make you some money. There are many ways you can make money while caring for someone.
Join a support group: It is great to join a support group where you can share your problems with others and talk about them. Venting out your problems is a great way of dealing with stress. Seeking help is not a sign of weakness, it is a sign of strength as you want to do your best for your patient. Joining a spiritual or religious group can also help in dealing with the stress.
Have realistic expectations: Do not get carried away with your role as carer. You cannot do all by yourself and acknowledging this is the biggest favor you can do yourself and your patient. You have your limitations, so discover them and do only that which you can do without stretching yourself too much.
Only when you are mentally, emotionally and physically able, can you take care of someone else. So before you burn yourself out and do something that you may regret later, help yourself and take care of yourself.
Remember, help4u.today is only a click away. Here you can find domestic help anytime quickly and easily. Do visit the site to help yourself today. Keep reading help4u.today blogs to learn about more interesting things related to babysitting, cleaning and caring.