How Caregivers Can Avoid Burnout From Dementia Care
Caring for someone with dementia can be taxing work that presents unique challenges to caregivers.
The most important thing to keep in mind is that this is a neurological condition, not a mental health issue, and that there is very little a patient can do to manage their condition.
Even for professional caregivers, the job of caring for someone with dementia is time-consuming and tiring. It can take a toll on a person because it requires huge amount of patience and trusting your instinct. Never doubt what your instincts are telling you—you are with the patient every day and will understand what is right for them.
In order to fully understand the journey of the caregiver, you must be able to identify signs of caregiver burnout. This refers to the stress and anxiety a caregiver might be experience over time and happens when they take on more responsibility than they can handle. Here are some of the signs to look out for:
- Loss of interest in personal activities
- Increased anxiety
- Taking your frustration out on the patients, even though you know it’s not their fault
- Decline in personal health
- Social isolation
- Irregular sleep patterns
- Lack of energy
- Feeling victimized
You might be asking yourself, “What can I do to prevent this?” Never be afraid to ask for professional help or seek out someone to talk to. Getting an unbiased opinion on the situation can help immensely and give you an outlet to vent. However, there are a few points you can keep in mind to help avoid this situation:
- Don’t feel guilty about taking time for yourself
- Pamper yourself because you do deserve it
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help
- Don’t beat yourself about feeling angry or irritated about your work; talk through your feelings
- Stay social and reach out to friends and family frequently
- Join a support group
- Keep a planner to make sure you can proper plan out all commitments you have coming up within the month
While there can be negative effects to caregivers, don’t forget that this is also a very rewarding job. It can make you feel useful and wanted which can lead to increased self-worth and a new appreciation of life. As long as you are prepared for the worst, caregiving can be a very fulfilling experience to endure.