Too many family caregivers make the mistake of taking on all the responsibility of caring for their elderly parent with dementia. Often, the family member has underestimated the physical and emotional strain that caregiving requires. Or, the family member is in denial about their own abilities and the difficulties their aging mom or dad faces. Regardless of the reason, when family caregivers shoulder the entire burden of care, they are at risk for caregiver burnout.
What is Caregiver Burnout?
When a family member devotes the majority of their time and effort into caring for an elderly relative, they can experience a lot of stress and frustration. Often, the burdens of care don’t start out as hard to deal with. At first, many elderly relatives just need a little help here and there. As the dementia progresses from mild to moderate, caregiving requires more and more effort from the family member. In no time, the family member neglects their own needs and the stress builds up with no release.
Caregiver burnout is chronic stress and if endured for too long, it can lead to numerous health problems. Some of the negative health effects of chronic stress include high blood pressure, stomach aches, headaches, weight loss or gain, anxiety, insomnia, lethargy, social isolation and depression. Chronic stress also increases the risk of developing illnesses like heart disease. Unless family caregivers develop some effective coping strategies, they are putting their own health at risk.
Home Care Assistance Reduces Stress
There are many coping strategies that family caregivers can adopt that will help them manage their stress levels. One of the most important steps is to have regularly scheduled breaks. Family caregivers need to spend quality time with friends and family socializing and having fun. Equally as important is getting quality rest time. When family caregivers have this kind of respite, they are better able to handle the stress of caring for their relatives with dementia.
Home care assistants come in and take on many of the caregiving tasks that cause burnout. From housekeeping and laundry to bathing, dressing and grooming the elderly adult, home care assistants can perform a lot of tasks that help relieve the caregiving burdens. These trained and professional aides know how to work with seniors with dementia, ensuring their safety and well-being. There’s no doubt that family caregivers are less likely to struggle with caregiver burnout when they can rely on a home care agency.
When family caregivers do not take care of themselves, they are less effective at taking care of their elderly relative. Instead of being healthy physically and mentally, they are more likely to face the challenges brought on by caregiver burnout. Ultimately, this chronic stress makes it even harder for them to provide excellent care. For family caregivers that want to avoid a downward spiral due to burnout, they should consider hiring a home care assistant to help with their elderly loved one with dementia right away.
IF YOU OR AN AGING LOVED-ONE ARE CONSIDERING HOME CARE IN CLAYTON, NC, PLEASE CONTACT THE CARING STAFF AT SENIORS HELPING SENIORS TODAY. CALL (919) 761-5346.
Kathy is a Certified Dementia Practitioner (CDP) who is active in several other senior related organizations, including Alzheimer’s State Champion program, Friends of the Northern Wake Senior Center board member, Ambassador for the Rolesville Chamber of Commerce, Aging Life Care Association (ALCA), Health Affairs Round Table (HART), and Senior Information Networking Group (SING).