Informal caregivers come in all shapes, sizes and backgrounds, and most take care of aging in place elderly relatives. And although caregiving is highly rewarding, looking after an older loved one can oftentimes be physically, mentally and emotionally exhausting. Caregiver fatigue and burnout are common, either of which can place both the caregiver and care recipient at risk. August is National Wellness Month, which makes it the perfect time for informal caregivers everywhere to pause and reflect on these self-care tips.
Signs of Caregiver Burnout
The average informal caregiver juggles caregiving responsibilities with managing a household and at least a part-time job. As those daily pressures add up family conflict, social withdrawal and financial difficulties are common as a result.
In general, here are some classic warning signs of caregiver burnout:
- Feelings of anxiety, guilt, hopelessness or helplessness
- A weakened immune system
- Rapid weight gain or loss
- Substance abuse
- Digestive problems
- Frequent headaches
- Withdrawing from family and friends
Left unaddressed, caregiver burnout can significantly diminish the quality of life for all parties involved.
Self-Care Tips for Family Caregivers
Fortunately, there are several good ways for you focus on self-care as a caregiver to stay recharged and refreshed, starting with these:
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