Caring for the elderly can take a physical and mental toll on anyone. Compassion fatigue and caregiver burnout share many common qualities, and both can be caused by sustained exposure to suffering, stress, and watching a loved one decline. While in-home care assistance situations are different, the one thing all caregivers experience is significant stress and little time for themselves.
Typically, compassion fatigue leads to caregiver burnout. The former is when the caregiver cannot deal with helping a loved one, so that they become stressed and do not tend to their needs. Feelings of guilt, trauma, and depression are entirely normal. In turn, this leads to caregiver burnout, which can include physical symptoms like weight loss and sleep disturbances. Luckily, caregiver burnout prevention steps can help carers.
Eating healthy, nutrient-rich meals helps to keep your wellbeing in check:
- Whole grains are high in fiber. Brown rice and sweet potatoes are excellent sources.
- Fresh fruit provides energy and will help to keep you feeling satisfied.
- Fresh vegetables, like spinach, are superfoods.
- Blueberries are loaded with antioxidants, which help to ward off diseases.
- Beans are a protein and a complex carb, providing plenty of energy.
- Almonds are some of the best nuts that you can eat.
- Chia seeds are full of calcium, which supports energy production.
- Water is essential! Drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day.
Being sleep deprived will lead to a much lower productivity overall, so it’s important not to eat into sleep time to get the chores done. For a sound sleep, don’t drink caffeine in the afternoon, allow yourself time to wind down, and turn off all electronic devices before going to bed. Adults should be getting between seven to nine hours of sleep every night.
No one can be on duty all day, every day. Occasional breaks help us to relax and recharge, ultimately bettering the care that we can provide. Ask friends, family members, or caregiver agencies to step in for an hour, day, or week so that you can have some quality time off.
The demands of caregiving and work may not leave you with a great deal of time for yourself. However, you can squeeze in some time for yourself to do the activities you enjoy. Whether it’s popping into your favorite coffee shop, stopping at a peaceful park, or ordering take-out instead of cooking on a Friday night, there are plenty of small pleasures to be enjoyed.
Avoid Isolating Yourself
Just as your elderly loved one needs to have social interaction, you do, too. Caregiving can result in loneliness and isolation, so it’s wise to take active steps to maintain a network of support. Make sure that you get together often with friends and family to recharge.
At San Antonio Home Care Assistance, we understand the importance of caring for loved ones. Our professional and experienced elder caregivers deliver exceptional non-medical care and companionship to the elderly and aging, allowing you to take your much-needed break. Call us on 1-210-495-6300 for more information.