Home Caregiver Burnout

Tips to be a successful caregiver and avoid burnout

It takes a generous, compassionate individual to be a caregiver. "You’re on call” 24-hours a day, 7 days a week to allow your loved one remain in the comfort and security of their own home. Often, you can become so involved in the day-to-day routine, you may forget to let others know you need assistance with providing care, or just a simple break from the routine. 

When your life is not in balance for an extended period of time, burnout occurs. Unfortunately, it’s very difficult to recognize when you are in the midst of caregiving, and it’s important to be aware of your needs and limitations. Being healthy and practicing regular selfcare is a requirement for successful caregiving.

In addition to caregiving, there are still day-to-day responsibilities that require attention and prioritization. It’s important to create a list of things that need to be done, such as grocery shopping, laundry, errands, lawn care, housecleaning or spending time with the care recipient, and put it on the refrigerator or near the front door. If someone says, “Let me know if there is anything I can do to help,” you can refer to the list.

Here are some additional tips to help you prevent caregiver burnout.

  • Ask for help. Plan a family meeting to coordinate everyone’s roles. Develop a calendar to assign responsibilities.
  • Create a list of chores. When someone asks how they can help, reference the list!
  • Keep expectations realistic.
  • Keep your sense of humor.
  • Pay attention to your health needs.
  • Share your feelings with friends, family, clergy, support groups and on-line communities.
  • Prioritize your sleep. Nap when your loved one naps.
  • Schedule a break every day. Even 15 minutes to yourself makes a big difference.
  • Eat healthy to keep your energy up.
  • Exercise to manage stress and increase your energy.
  • Educate yourself about your loved one’s condition.
  • Seek the help of professional resources for additional guidance.
  • Keep communication with your employer open to obtain their support.

At Cedar Valley Hospice, we understand that being a caregiver is demanding and are here to help. If you feel overwhelmed or need assistance, give us a call. Through our palliative care and hospice programs, we can come into the home or nursing facility to provide specific education for caregivers to put them in the best possible spot for success.

In addition, our expert care teams take on a large portion of that caregiving role by providing physical, emotional and spiritual care for your loved one, so you can focus on spending more quality time with them. Afterall, you were their spouse, child, friend, etc. first before you became their caregiver, and that is where your energy should ultimately be focused… on Making Each Moment Matter.

For more information on how Cedar Valley Hospice can help, please call 800.626.2360 or visit cvhospice.org.