Caregivers Must Also Remember To Take Care Of Themselves

Navigating the perils of Broadway and 79th Street
(Photo credit: Ed Yourdon)

Many caregivers work so hard caring for the people around them that they forget to take care of themselves. The result can be what is often referred to as “caregiver burnout.” If you are serving as the caregiver in your family, you need to understand the difficulty of what you are undertaking and recognize the signs that you may be trying to do too much. A good way to begin is to ask yourself the following questions:

  • Am I always exhausted, even after sleeping all night?
  • Do I catch an inordinate number of colds or flu?
  • Does it seem like my whole life revolves around caregiving but I don’t get any satisfaction from it?
  • Have I lost the ability to simply relax?
  • Am I increasingly impatient with and irritated by the person in my care?
  • Am I feeling overwhelmed and helpless, sometimes even hopeless?

If your answer to several of these questions is yes, and the symptoms seem to have appeared after you began to assume the duties of caregiver, it is quite possible that you have reached burnout.

You need to understand that what you are feeling is normal. Caregiver burnout is quite common—increasingly so, given that Americans are living longer than ever before and frequently need long-term care as they grow older. Tomorrow, we’ll discuss some steps you can take to deal with burnout.

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