For many people who find themselves in the role of caregiver, they are performing those tasks out of love. Whether caring for an aging parent, a partner with cancer, or a sibling with dementia, it is only natural to want to do whatever possible to keep that person as comfortable as possible. But caring for someone who is no longer able to perform daily activities on their own can be stressful, both physically and emotionally.
Burnout for caregivers is a very real thing, and can be physically and emotionally harmful for you, the caregiver, as well as potentially harmful for your loved one. Recently, researchers have applied the Roy Adaptation model, a nursing theory developed by Sister Callista Roy in 1976, to caregiver stress. Roy’s model sees the individual as a set of interrelated systems, and the individual is constantly using those systems to maintain balance with the outside world.
With the Caregiver Stress Theory, the model shows that a caregiver is having to balance many burdens, including stressful life events, social expectations and their relationship with the patient, among others, and the way they balance those burdens will affect their self-esteem, happiness, and physical well-being.
To be at your best, be aware of the signs of caregiver burnout:
- Changes in weight or appetites, or both
- Loss of interest in activities you previously enjoyed
- Trouble getting sleep
- Emotional and physical exhaustion
- Withdrawal from friends or family
- Feelings of wanting to hurt yourself or the person you are caring for
- Feeling irritable or depressed
- Excessive use of alcohol or medications will affect their self-esteem, happiness, and physical well-being.
If you are experiencing any of these, reach out for help. There are a lot of great support groups in our area, including groups at Senior Services. You can also find help at many of the churches and counseling centers throughout our area. It is amazing how much it helps realizing you are not alone, and having someone to talk to.
If you or someone you love is experiencing any of these signs of caregiver burnout, you might also be in need of respite care, or a more intense schedule of care with outside help. If you feel you are overwhelmed taking care of your loved one, we can help. We provide respite care services with qualified, compassionate caregivers. Our services include light housekeeping, grocery shopping, bathing, toiletry needs and medication management.