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Stages of Caregiver Burnout: When to Access Respite Care

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Caring for a loved one can be a rewarding experience. After all, you want what’s best for them, and it can be wonderful to spend time together and help wherever you can. However, it can also be demanding, often leading to feelings like fatigue, irritability, and more. This is caregiver burnout.

If you start to feel constantly exhausted, easily irritated, sore, or overwhelmed, you’re burning out, and it may be time to try respite care. This way, your loved one can get temporary care from a team of trained professionals while you take a step back and focus on yourself.

What Is Caregiver Burnout?

Caring for another person requires a great deal of strength, compassion, and love, as well as effort and energy. It can seem like there’s never enough time in a day to do everything you need to do. A heightened level of responsibility is needed to help maintain your loved one’s dignity and quality of life.

Spending most of your time caring for somebody else can be difficult. There are emotional, physical, mental, and even financial costs to caregiving, and these can add up as the weeks pass. These feelings accumulate, and many people ignore their needs to continue caring for their loved ones. It may almost feel like an emotional tug-of-war where you just can’t get a grip on the rope.

Over time, this can take a toll on your mental, emotional, and physical well-being. You may start to feel exhausted, overwhelmed, and irritable regularly. When this happens, you’re starting to burn out. This is caregiver burnout.

How to Tell if You’re Developing Burnout

Caregiver burnout isn’t just about feeling tired or irritated, though. The longer you have it, the more detrimental it can be to your health in the long term.

At first, caregiver burnout often causes:

  • Frequent feelings of being overwhelmed
  • Negative sleep habits
  • Changes in appetite
  • Loss of interest in personal hobbies or interests

As you continue to neglect your needs, caregiver burnout can lead to:

  • A shorter temper
  • Increased irritability
  • Feelings of isolation or detachment from others
  • Anxiety
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Physical symptoms that can’t be explained medically, like headaches, stomachaches, or chronic fatigue
  • A weakened immune system

These symptoms all develop and worsen the longer you neglect your own needs. Eventually, you may resent the person in your care or provide a worsened level of care. You can’t fill someone else’s cup if your own is running out!

It’s essential to take active steps to prevent caregiver burnout; by knowing the early signs that you’re developing the condition, you can begin taking steps to avoid worsening symptoms.

Preventing Caregiver Burnout

When you start noticing earlier signs of caregiver burnout, like increased fatigue or a change in appetite, it’s time to focus more on your health. This way, you can continue providing care for your loved one. Caring for yourself isn’t selfish; it’s a necessary step to continue supporting your loved one.

If you start noticing caregiver burnout, it can help to:

  • Schedule regular breaks where you can focus on yourself and the things you love
  • Consider reaching out to others to get help for your loved one
  • Establish healthy boundaries
  • Seek support through community resources

These steps can all help you avoid worsening caregiver burnout. However, one extremely effective tool can make a big difference for you and your loved one: respite care.

Respite Care: What Is It?

Respite care is kind of like a breath of fresh air. It’s a temporary solution that gives you a short-term break, allowing you to recharge and attend to your needs. But you aren’t ignoring your loved one. Instead, they’ll be in a community surrounded by a team of professional caregivers.

Think of it as a short-term vacation for you and your loved one. Senior living communities like Brooklyn Pointe Assisted Living & Memory Care offer respite care as a way for you to have time to focus on yourself—without compromising your loved one’s health.

Your loved one can live briefly in a senior living community and enjoy all the amenities, programs, and benefits the community offers. Programs, dining, housekeeping, some medical care, and more are available.

Meanwhile, you can enjoy some time to yourself. You can bathe, handle errands, read a book, nap, or even dance like nobody’s watching. Whatever you need to do to care for yourself, you can have the time. You can enjoy the activities that fulfill you emotionally, physically, and mentally without worrying about your loved one.

A female caregiver holding an older adult woman's hand while looking at her and smiling

When to Try Respite Care

If you’re caring for a loved one and beginning to recognize the early signs of caregiver burnout, contact us at Brooklyn Pointe Assisted Living & Memory Care. Our respite care program may be the answer so you can take time for yourself. You deserve a break, and our community is here to help, so schedule a visit with us today!

Written by Angela Clark

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