Preventing caregiver burnout – helping the helpers

An informal caregiver is an unpaid person who is taking care of a spouse, partner, family member, friend, or neighbor who has health problems.
Published: Sep. 21, 2022 at 4:53 AM CDT|Updated: Sep. 23, 2022 at 6:16 AM CDT
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ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) - There are 53 million informal caregivers in the US. An informal caregiver is an unpaid person who is taking care of a spouse, partner, family member, friend, or neighbor who has health problems and is unable to take care of themselves.

However, 21 percent of these caregivers report their own health as fair or poor as a result of caregiving. Here are tips straight from other caregivers on how to take care of their health and prevent burnout.

Taking care of a loved one with health problems is challenging. Nicole E. Werner, PhD, Associate Professor, University of Wisconsin, Madison, says, “Caregiving can be a 24-hour a day role.”

Which leaves no time for a caregiver to take care of themselves.

Christine Nash says, “I neglected myself 100 percent. I was down to a size four. My hair was matted. I wasn’t caring for myself at all.”

It is very common to experience caregiver burnout, where you are in a state of physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion. In fact, 40 percent of caregivers report feeling emotionally strained. So, what can be done to prevent caregiver burnout? First … Gail Morgan says, “Don’t isolate yourself.”

Join a support group with other caregivers. Also, allow yourself to take breaks to get out of the house to visit friends or even pamper yourself. Another tip, don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Naveena Jaspal suggests, “Get your siblings or your family involved from the get-go.”

Having more people taking part in the care means there are more people to share in the workload. And Christine Nash says, “Taking care of yourself is so important, so, so important.”

And make sure you don’t skip your own doctor’s appointments. If you’re not taking care of your own health, you won’t be in the best condition to take care of someone else’s.

One last tip: wake up 15 minutes earlier and use that time just for you. You can spend it enjoying your morning coffee, writing in a journal, or meditating.

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