Posted by: Bert Copple | May 18, 2010

Tips for Caregivers in Avoiding “Caregiver Burnout”

As many caregivers know, caring for an aging or disabled relative can be a very difficult challenge for family members, and it can truly take its toll on their lives.

Nationally, over 40 million Americans are caring for older relatives, according to the American Geriatrics Society. Many are caught between raising their own children while also having to watch over mom or dad.

“Caregiver burnout is quite common nowadays,” said Alexander Fiuza, PhD, Matrix Home Care’s director of client services. “It is very normal to feel anger, depression, bewilderment and loneliness.”

Fiuza gives 10 tips for helping to avoid caregiver burnout:

1. Take care of yourself. Get enough exercise, sleep and nourishing food.

2. Join a support group. Many community hospitals, churches, synagogues and health-related associations offer support groups free of charge.

3. Write things down. If you’re not comfortable sharing feelings with a group, buy a journal and write down your activities and emotions.

4. Educate yourself. Understanding a relative’s condition can help a caregiver plan day-to-day activities, as well as prepare for the changes that lie ahead.

5. Get support from friends and other family members. Ask another relative to take a parent to the store or perhaps a neighbor could cook an extra meal or two on the weekend.

6. Change the home environment. For example, installing grab bars in the bathroom or bedroom can help a senior with balance problems.

7. Take advantage of adult day care. Day care programs allow seniors to take part in social and recreational activities and eat healthy meals under the supervision of professionals.

8. Engage respite care. Ask a friend, relative or volunteer from a faith community to watch your relative for a few hours on the weekend.

9. Get professional counseling. When feelings of depression or anger become overwhelming, a trained counselor can provide support and help you keep a healthy perspective on life.

10. Do something nice for yourself each day. “Simple things like exercise, gardening, reading, watching TV or taking a walk around the block can do wonders to raise your spirits,” Fiuza said. “Always remember that caring for yourself is the key to being a good caregiver for others.”

Home Instead Senior Care will provide outstanding caregivers to ease the stress of your busy life by helping your loved one with personal care, incidental travel, companionship, medication reminders, light housekeeping, and even meal preparation. To learn more, call 248-203-2273 or visit www.homeinstead.com. Home Instead Senior Care is the world’s trusted source of in-home non-commercial personal care and companionship for seniors. Each franchise is independently owned and operated. And remember, to us, it’s personal.

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