The Importance of Support Groups for Home Caregivers

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Home Caregivers

Home caregivers provide a valuable service and provide assistance to families, the elderly, and others that need various levels of care. However, caregivers can start to feel the effects of their job over time, which can lead to increased stress and difficulties in concentrating while on the job, commonly referred to as burnout.

Experts of in-home care, San Antonio families trust, share some of the signs caregivers could exhibit when they are experiencing burnout include:

  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Short Tempers
  • Mood Swings
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Increased Illnesses
  • Changes in Sleep Patterns
  • Weight Gain/Loss

Aside from these, some caregivers also notice they have a much shorter level of tolerance and patience, both in the workplace and at home, as well as a loss of interest in their jobs.

Support Groups Help

There have been several studies conducted that have suggested and demonstrated support groups can significantly help when caregivers are starting to notice burnout. Among those studies, the most recent one was conducted by the Mayo Clinic, along with researchers from Arizona State University.

This particular study focused on caregivers who are also mothers and how the effects of stress and burnout affected their jobs and at-home lives. The study involved 40 participants who were split into two groups.

Nineteen participants in one group would be given one hour of free time each week they could use however they wanted. The other twenty-one subjects would be given one hour of group support. The study lasted for a period of twelve weeks.

Throughout the study, participants were monitored and reported the level of stress, depression, and other feelings they were experiencing. At the end of the study, the subjects that were given group support sessions had remarkably lowered levels of stress, anxiety, depression, and other such feelings associated with burnout, compared to the group that was given an hour of free time each week.

Lower Cortisone Levels

Furthermore, this group continued to benefit from the group sessions they participated in for three months after the study was concluded. This was noted in the levels of cortisone in the body, prior to, during, after, and at a three-month follow-up visit.

Cortisone is a chemical in the body that is responsible for regulating stress responses. Higher cortisone levels indicate a higher level of stress. The twenty-one women who were in the support group showed a significant reduction in cortisone levels. This study is not the only one that has been conducted to support the findings. In addition, women are not the only caregivers that can experience burnout—men can, too.

How Can Burnout Be Prevented?

Support Groups for Home Caregivers

Caregivers can help reduce the effect of and prevent burnout by participating in support groups with their peers. In cases where you cannot find a support group in your area for caregivers, viable alternatives are to ask your employer to start a support group or to seek one-on-one counseling with a qualified professional.

Asking for help and seeking it are not signs of weakness. It just means you truly care about your job and about providing exceptional care for your patients and their families. If you are in need of assistance caring for an elderly parent or loved one, please feel free to contact Home Care Assistance San Antonio by calling 210-996-2733 today!


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