Did you know that there is an actual term for the burnout that many senior caregivers experience? Well-known in the healthcare community are the terms caregiver syndrome, caregiver fatigue and caregiver stress. Although these terms are used interchangeably, the condition is not yet outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.
No matter what term is used, symptoms of caregiver stress are real and can include many physical and psychological issues. These include insomnia, depression, fatigue, emotional eating, lowered immunity, more risk of chronic illness like high blood pressure, high cholesterol and other ailments. Assistance for senior caregivers is available in a variety of ways. Though it may feel difficult to ask for help, there are many programs and services available for the purpose of helping to relieve caregiver stress. Accepting help through others via respite care, transportation services, meal prep, social activities and other community services can reduce the burden and stress that caregivers experience.
Another way to combat caregiver stress is to improve caregiver morale through gratitude. Seniors receiving care, and their family and friends, can provide positive comments and feedback for the caregiver in-person or via emerging web-based platforms. Receiving gratitude can help the caregiver to feel appreciated and help alleviate negative emotions resulting from caregiver fatigue.
“The concept is simple: if the reward for a healthcare worker, and in our case a hospice caregiver, is derived from helping people through hard times, then the best remedy for burnout or emotional exhaustion is gratitude from those who were helped.”
In addition to receiving gratitude, community support and resources, it is important for caregivers to stay connected to their own family and friends. Many caregivers can feel isolated when consumed with caregiving. Regularly talking with a friend, family member, clergy, therapist, or fellow caregivers can offer helpful support and understanding.
Often times, the health of a caregiver can too easily be ignored for long periods of time. It is important to recognize the symptoms and to seek help.
Check out more tips online @ Hospice Caregiver Burnout: How Can it Be Prevented?
A weekly feature for Lumby, Cherryville, and area seniors. For more information about any of the following please contact Lauralee or Jenny at (250) 547-8866 Whitevalley Community Resource Centre Office (250) 547-8866. Funding support provided by Interior Health, the Province of British Columbia (Community Gaming), United Way Southern Interior and United Way Lower Mainland.