When a loved one is sick, their family and community may come together to support them in their time of need. Eventually, if the illness is persistent, most of the responsibility can fall to a select few. These are the people in charge of coordinating, maintaining, and supporting their loved ones throughout the course of their illness. As much as they want to help their loved one, the time and energy it takes to be a primary caregiver can lead to burnout. Caregiver burnout is very common, but not often talked about. Frequently individuals feel guilty for feeling stressed or resentful. There can also be a fear that their feelings will be seen as selfish.
What are the signs of caregiver burnout? They include cutting back on personal activities, increasing health problems, lethargy, anxiety, avoidance, trouble concentrating, and much more. It is important if this happens that the caregiver gets help for themselves. Speaking to someone outside of the situation such as counselor or pastor can often help relieve some of the stress the person is feeling. The provider can also help brainstorm ideas to help improve the situation either individually or as a whole. Ideas such as a meal train can take a bit of effort to set up but can relieve some long term stressors by getting other people involved. Even something as simple as setting up a weekly visitor for your loved one for a few hours can free up mental space you can use for some self-care.
In the end, it is about remembering being a caregiver doesn’t stop you from being a person and looking after your needs so you can be healthy as well as supportive. Reach out to schedule an appointment in Medina or Independence.