What is caregiver burnout and how can it be avoided?
All-day and night, caregivers make sure that their client or loved ones are looked after and all of their needs are met. This can often lead to neglect of their own mental and physical health. It is possible to go without a break in the short term but long periods of time without a break can cause caregiver burnout and other following health problems.
It is a common feeling for caregivers to feel guilty if they take a break and will put off having one until they are suffering mentally or physically. It is not unusual for those who are carers, either to a family member or to clients to under-report their feelings of stress in the fear of being seen as selfish for prioritising their own health.
Taking time away from the daily caregiving responsibilities is essential for all so it is important for carers to seek respite care service before the stress and pressure of caregiving becomes too much and leads to burnout.
What is caregiver burnout?
Caregiver burnout is a state of mental, emotional and physical exhaustion that can take a toll on a caregiver’s relationships, health and state of mind.
Common symptoms and signs of caregiver burnout include the following:
- A large decrease in energy
- Seem to catch cases of flu and colds more often than those around them
- Neglect their own needs because they are too busy or have just given up
- When their life revolves around caregiving, with barely any satisfaction
- Have trouble relaxing even when help is offered
- Short fuse with the one they are caring for
- The constant state of exhaustion, even after sleeping
What is respite care?
Respite care is a type of assistance that allows a family caregiver to take a break from providing care to their loved one. Respite care focuses on helping family caregivers ease their stress, avoid caregiver burnout and recharge their mental and physical health.
Getting this time out can allow caregivers to maintain their own sense of identity by meeting friends, having holidays or just having space to themselves.
What does respite care provide?
Respite care allows the individual receiving care to carry on in their routine as close to what they are used to with their family member carer.
- A respite carer can help the individual go to special events and social events and accompany them whilst they are there.
- They can also attend medical appointments with the individual and make sure they are receiving all the care required from them along the way.
- Respite carers are able to help with housekeeping in the place of the usual family carer to have things in the same condition as when they left.
- Respite carers can also help the individual with personal hygiene and personal appearance if that is something they usually struggle with.
Respite care is always tailored to the caregivers and the individual’s needs, minimising the amount of change when a respite carer steps in, allowing everyone to feel comfortable.