You and most other caregivers have some period of burnout.
It is okay to say it (maybe not to those you are caring for!). Recognizing burnout is good. Knowing how to prevent burnout is even better.
I meet caregivers who are family members and hired help. I find that regardless if you are related or employed, caregivers are such special individuals. They are a plethora of information for me. I have the highest respect for all!
There is an old saying, “Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should”. This is true for so many reasons. You can go on as a caregiver and not take a break, but should you? How are you taking care of yourself? Do you have a physical and mental self-care routine? Is there a support group in your neighborhood? Often there are free support groups for caregivers. Often the training for being a caregiver is on the job. Is there even any formal training? If so, what would that even look like? Medical school? A degree in psychology and psychiatry? A degree in how to transfer people. How to cook, clean, and time management.
Maybe there should be a course! But even so, there would still be burnout. Caregivers give and give and give. It is expected.
What I have found with my patients that are caregivers is one main thing in common. Protectiveness. The caregiver knows everything about the patient. Everything! Temperament, activity level, triggers, doctor appointments, family dynamics, and so on. With that said, I have found that caregivers can be hesitant to let others help. It is good to have another caregiver or more to help share the load. More caregivers can also mean more brainstorming to optimize the person’s quality of life, help with domestics, or companionship.
It is not only okay to let someone else help you to care for the person that you care for (family or your job) but I feel it is mutually beneficial. Be your best self so you can help your person in need be their best self. Sounds simple. I do understand it is not simple or easy to do!
If you are a caregiver, give yourself a break! If you know a caregiver, give them a hug, a special surprise, a listening ear, a gift card, or anything you can think of to honor these magical people.
CONTACT KAREN L. CERASO