Self care for Caregivers of loved ones with Dementia

What is Caregiver Burnout?

Caregiver Burnout is a term used to describe the state of physical, emotional and mental exhaustion experienced by one person taking care of another person who needs assistance with daily living activities. Women are more often the primary caregivers for their spouses, family members or relatives who need care. Stress and burnout diminishes the caregivers ability to deliver consistent quality care and affects the person you’re caring for. Your loved one may suffer because of this. It is important to take care of yourself so you can give the best care to your loved one. Recognizing the signs of burnout and using some of these helpful tips is the first step to reverse the inevitable mental and physical exhaustion.

8 Signs of caregiver burnout

  1. Stress
  2. Anxiety
  3. Exhaustion
  4. Irritability
  5. Trouble concentrating
  6. Trouble sleeping
  7. Poor Health
  8. Having less energy than you had before
Stressed Woman 2

Helpful tips on how to avoid Burnout

  • Get Active. Make time for exercise, preferably with a friend. Join an exercise class or engage in healthy activities such as swimming, walking or hiking with a buddy or meet a friend for a game of tennis. Staying active can help you reduce stress levels and anxiety, Perk up your mood and reduce feelings of depression. Exercise, laughter and music all help release the “natural pain killer” chemical Endorphins in your brain. This is a great way to keep balance between the care you give to your loved ones and the care you give yourself.

  • Take a break - Respite. Find time for yourself to recharge your energy since people with Dementia can live for many years with their condition. Remember it’s a marathon not a sprint. Dementia and Alzheimer's can progress very slowly especially when you provide gentle loving care. So take the time you need to care for yourself along the way. Spend time doing something you enjoy. Pamper yourself and book a spa treatment. Eat well, especially leafy vegetables and greens. Get enough sleep whenever you can, and take a short nap in the afternoons or whenever the person you’re caring for is sleeping. Remember that people with Dementia and Alzheimers may sleep for many hours a day, giving you many opportunities to recharge and rejuvenate.Get someone to help you to keep them engaged during the day so they sleep through the night. Use the help when it is available, let others share the responsibility with you.Ask a neighbor or church volunteer to help whenever they can

  • Use relaxation techniques such as; relaxation Meditation - 15 minutes a day letting go of all stressful thoughts; Breathing exercises and stretching. Clearing your mind and taking it day by day will help you better deal with your loved ones needs without becoming overwhelmed. Set a routine for you and your loved one to follow and stick to it. People with dementia respond well to routines which help reduce confusion. Involve your loved one in daily chores like folding the laundry or shelling peas, anything that will help them feel needed will improve their mood and reduce agitation for them and add relaxation to your day. Taking care of yourself is not a luxury, it is a necessity to avoid such burnouts.
  • Relaxation
  • Seek a support group. Remember staying healthy not only benefits you as a Caregiver but your loved one too. Finding a support group can help you maintain a healthy mental balance. Tell stories: sharing experiences with others going through the same situation can help lower your stress levels by sharing such situations.Learn how others in the group manage similar situations you will be dealing with. Find a support group through your church, local community center or join an online support group. There are so many resources online and on Facebook too.
  • Evergreen Cottages Memory care and assisted living provides 24-hour loving care in a 16 bed residential community - we specialize in caring for people with Alzheimer’s and other Dementia. To schedule a Call or Visit with one of our Experienced Care Manager please call 281-670-9810 - or visit our website www.EvergreenCottages.com

    By: Anthony Serrano the Q.A. coordinator at Evergreen Cottages. His mentor is operations manager Vanessa Trautwein RN. She is an expert in Senior Care and can be reached by email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

    Resource links

    • https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/real-life-benefits-exercise-and-physical-activity
    • https://www.alz.org/help-support/caregiving/caregiver-health/caregiver-stress
    • https://www.helpguide.org/articles/stress/caregiver-stress-and-burnout.htm
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