Being a caregiver is one of the hardestand toughest occupations you can choose for yourself. Namely,caregivers are people who put their needs after the needs of theperson they are taking care of. Therefore, this is a selflessprofession full of sacrificing and devotion and all these factors cantake most of the life energy out of a person.
So, often, caregivers reach a pointwhere they simply cannot take it anymore, feeling that they areabsolutely overwhelmed by the stress the demands and the problemsrelated to their job. This state of body and mind is called thecaregiver burnout and is quite commonly seen in people who take careof the elderly.
Elder Caregiver Support
Once you start being a caregiver, youneed to be aware that this job is also a lifestyle. Moreover, youneed to bear in mind that this is a job which can last for more thana couple of years, taking over your entire life before you can evenrealize this. Most of the individuals who start working as caregiversare not aware of the amount of energy this profession deprives aperson of.
Being there for an elderly person,whenever and wherever you are is something not all people areprepared to do. Thus, not rarely, caregivers experience that theycannot take the burden of their profession any longer, feelingtrapped, exhausted and worn off by the constant demands of the personthey are in charge of. Basically, a caregiver needs to be available24/7, taking care of the medications and the therapy the patientneeds, being there to clean and tidy the household of the patient,prepare meals and do all the things that the patient is not able todo.
Of course, the amount of work acaregiver has to do varies from one patient to the other. However,usually, it involves the financial, emotional, social and many otherforms of support. Naturally, if the patient is bedridden the wholesituation is bound to be far more complicated, demanding even morefree time of the caregiver.
Surely, caregivers create a specialbond with their clients or patients. However, regardless of all thegood experiences and the love the two share, the caregiver may reacha point where he/she needs a time off, being incapable of puttinghim/herself behind anymore.
Fortunately, if you are a caregiver,you do not need to wait for this to happen. Rather, organizingyourself better can preserve your mental and physical energy,allowing you to be involved in this profession without experiencingthe caregiver burnout.
Before you lose yourself completely,remember that saying no is not a crime, nor is it something that isforbidden. Rather, allowing the patient to do his/her share of thechores or obligations is your right. Thus, talk to yourself first anddetermine the amount of caregiving your are capable of providingwithout being overwhelmed by the burden. Then, keeping your healthand general well-being in mind, have a meeting with the family of thepatient and tell them all about your conditions. After all, being acaregiver is not a one-person job, but something that the wholefamily should be involved in too.
Then, set your priorities and plan outyour caregiver journey ahead, setting boundaries before you even getin contact with the elderly individual you will be spending a lot oftime with. Without being aware of it, many seniors are narcissisticand vain people, asking for more attention than they actually need.Thus, remember that you are not a slave or a servant, but, rather acaring caregiver, knowing the difference between these roles andexplaining the to the elderly person too.
Elder Caregiver Burnout
As the lines above have explained,being a caregiver for the elderly can be exhausting and consuming,taking the best out of you before you even notice it. Thus, plan outyour caregiver attitude before getting into the whole business,bearing in mind that your safety and health come first. Nevertheless,this does not signify that the elderly person should be neglected.
First of all, learn all you can aboutthe illness the elderly individual is suffering from, since this willincrease your levels of effectiveness. Secondly, set clear boundariesand be careful not to cross them since the elderly person may takeadvantage of your weakness. Moreover, doctors, family members and allother people involved in the health and well-being of the personshould be well aware of your restrictions and self-set limitations.
Additionally, rest assured thatemotions will overwhelm you sooner or later since the caregiver jobcan often result in tears, pain, resentment, guilt, grief,helplessness, fear and a whole plethora of other feelings. Make sureyou do not compromise the feelings and the well-being of the elderlyindividual, but accept your own too and express them. Many caregiversmanage to do this through counseling or taking part in caregiversupport groups.
Finally, if you notice that you arerunning out of energy much faster than before, feeling that illnessesare appearing more commonly in your life, experiencing sleep problemsor exhaustion and feeling that you cannot do the caregiver jobanymore, take action and avoid suffering from caregiver burnout.