Caregiver burden is the stress which is perceived by family caregivers due to the home care situation. This subjective burden is one of the most important predictors for negative outcomes of the care situation – for the caregivers themselves as well as for the one who requires care.
Unlike professional caregivers such as physicians and nurses, informal caregivers, typically family members or friends, provide care to individuals with a variety of conditions, most commonly advanced age, dementia, and cancer.
As more and more evidence suggests that caregiving is detrimental to one’s health and well-being.
Compared to non-caregivers, caregivers often experience psychological, behavioral, and physiological effects that can contribute to impaired immune system function and coronary heart disease, and early death.
TAKE BREAKS – get someone to come in at least one time a week so you can go do something for yourself and your loved one can experience something new.
ADULT DAY CENTER – every county has an adult day center where your elderly family member can go and experience social interaction, meals and activity that will help stimulate their senses and allow you to have some time to care for yourself.
RESPITE* – consider a respite stay for your loved one at a local assisted living community. This can be set up for a two week to 4 week period and can allow you to refresh and/or take a vacation, visit other friends or family, etc. to help keep you happy and doing well.
EDUCATION– get involved in a continuing education program or class that will help you manage the care better or something totally different that can help stimulate your mind and body, like an exercise, yoga, cooking or art class.
FUTURE PLANNING – make sure that there is a future plan in place should the burden become overwhelming and you need more options. Learn about the options (assisted living, 24/hour care, residential assisted care) before the crisis hits so you can be prepared for a change.
*RESPITE -programs provide planned short-term and time-limited breaks for families and other unpaid care givers of those who are unable to care for themselves in order to support and maintain the primary care giving relationship.
Share this with a loved one that may be experiencing caregiver burnout.