Caring for the Caregivers: Preventing Burnout

Caring for the Caregivers

Burnout is usually something we associate with our regular jobs. Working long hours under stressful conditions can wear a person down. Burnout can affect caregivers too, people who sometimes must work full time jobs and then go home to care for a disabled loved one.

If someone in your family has experienced a traumatic brain injury, the demands placed on you can be overwhelming. Although you may feel like you have little or no control over the situation, there are steps you can take to avoid burnout and still provide proper care.

Warning Signs of Burnout

Many caregivers fail to recognize burnout. Symptoms include

  • Reduced energy
  • Frequent illness
  • Sleeplessness
  • Sense of being overwhelmed
  • Impatience
  • Irritability
  • Helplessness
  • Hopelessness

Some caregivers report that when they tend to a loved one’s needs every day, the work has lost its meaning. It becomes a chore, rather than an expression of love for an ailing family member.

The Mayo Clinic has several recommendations for avoiding caregiver burnout. One of the most important things to remember is to avoid trying to do it all yourself. If you cannot take breaks or find the assistance when you need it, burnout is likely to happen. Ask friends or other family members to do errands for you, or anything you feel will make your life easier. Ask someone to come over for an hour or two and keep an eye on your loved one so you can shower, eat a decent meal or run errands.

Knowing your limits is an important part of caring for yourself. Caregivers often feel guilty if they cannot do all that is needed. These feelings are harmful, as is the exhaustion that comes from taking on too much. Learn your limits and be realistic about how much time you can devote to your family’s needs. Draw this line and make sure family members and physicians understand your limits.

Emotional Support

Talking about your feelings can also help you cope with the stress and anxiety that comes with caring for a disabled family member. Reach out to local caregiver organizations or adult day care centers. They may have assistance and advice to offer. Other resources that can help include church groups, friends, family members, support groups and therapists.

Above all, take care of yourself. Even though you may feel selfish providing for your own needs when a loved one needs your help, you owe it to yourself. Take breaks for your interests and make these breaks part of your daily routine. Eat a healthy diet and get enough sleep each night. Only by taking proper care of yourself will you be able to offer the best care and support to others.

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If your loved one has suffered a traumatic brain injury and you are finding it difficult to afford care, contact our office. Our attorneys will review your case at no cost to you, answer all of your questions and give you advice about compensation for which you may be eligible. Because the time to file a claim is limited, it is important you call now.

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