Caregiver Burnout: Most people wouldn’t know that they are burning out on something until it was too late.
That’s because the majority of people, including family caregivers, keep pushing themselves well beyond their limitations. Yet, they do that because they assume they have no choice. This is where caregiver burnout can start.
If you have been a caregiver for your elderly mother, or even another family member, below are three signs you could very well be at the point or nearing that point of burnout.
It’s best to take action before you actually burn out because that’s when mistakes can happen or you reach a point when you just don’t care anymore, especially if you are butting heads with this aging senior depending on you.
Sign #1: You’re getting angry… A lot.
It’s not that you are simply getting angry, but that you are becoming angry much easier and it is far more frequent than what’s normal for you. If you find yourself getting short with people you never would have before, snapping at your spouse, adult children, friends, neighbors, coworkers, and even your boss, it’s probably a good indicator that you are reaching the point of caregiver burnout.
You may have a history of getting emotionally confrontational with your mother or father, but this is different. This frustration is expanding to other parts of your life, to other people.
When you find your temper growing shorter, your workdays — including the time you have to work as a caregiver — getting longer, that is a clear sign that you are reaching the breaking point, the point of burnout.
Sign #2: You can’t sleep very well.
You might be getting a few hours of sleep each night, but you should be getting at least seven at a minimum. If you are not getting the minimum, even though you may assume you can do this because you just have to, eventually that is going to catch up with you.
You will reach a point when your health suffers as a result of a lack of sleep. If you can’t sleep because you’re constantly worried, stressed, anxious about everything you have to do, the things you didn’t get done that day, or about your elderly mother who has counted on you for so long, it’s time to address this very serious situation.
Sign #3: You don’t seem to care anymore.
In the beginning, when you first started as a caregiver for your elderly mother, you cared tremendously. It’s not that you don’t care now, but you have reached a point where it seems as though you don’t care.
You might hang up the phone after she is called for the umpteenth million times that day and said something you regretted, even if it was just you who heard it, but it’s an indicator that you are reaching your breaking point.
When you don’t seem to care about your health, your job, or even your responsibilities as a caregiver, it’s time to look elsewhere for support.
When the family hasn’t or can’t support you, and caregiver burnout becomes too much, then a home care agency certainly can fill in.