How do I know if I am a caregiver struggling with burnout? To simply put it, caregiver burnout is when you are mentally, physically or emotionally tired from caring for a loved one. Caregiver burnout can sometimes be called caregiver distress. The person that is being cared for, often has some sort of chronic illness, physical and/or mental limitations and cannot care for themselves. In many cases, caregivers do not even recognize that they are burnt out. As our population continues to age, we see a sandwich generation in which individuals are simultaneously caring for their children and parents. Caregiver burnout can look like many different things to many different people. Some signs and symptoms of caregiver burnout are:
· Disrupted sleep · Feeling anxious and/or depressed · Feeling exhausted and tired · Feeling lonely
· Lacking energy · Change in appetite or weight · Increased headaches · Feeling irritable · Difficulty concentrating · Neglecting one’s own needs
Now that we have identified the signs and symptoms, where do we go from here. For one, you are not alone. There are thousands of people playing the role of a caregiver. Often times people feel stuck and do not know that there are resources available in their own community. Home and Community Care Support Services (HCCSS) is an organization that is run out of the province of Ontario. There are 14 HCCSS which are divided by geography. HCCSS provides home care support for individuals living at home and in the community. Services can range from nursing, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, personal support care etc. These services are covered through a valid Ontario Health Card. One can find their closest branch by simply entering their postal code on this link http://www.healthcareathome.ca/find-my-hccss/ What can we do as caregivers?
· Ask for help · Get help for yourself via counselling or support groups · Self-care · Validate your own feelings · Eat a balanced meal and exercise · Access community supports · Take care of your own health · Obtain respite support
As caregivers we sometimes forget that we do not have unlimited superpowers. We too need to recharge, refocus and rebuild in order to give the best of ourselves to our loved ones.