There are currently 75 million adults in North America alone who are caring for an elderly, chronically ill or disabled family member and the vast majority are also raising children and holding down full-time jobs. Many of these family caregivers report symptoms of depression, high levels of stress and general feeling of being overburdened—Does this sound like you or someone that you know?
If you are part of the “sandwich generation”, defined as a generation of people who care for their aging parents while supporting their own children and juggling other life responsibilities, the pressure to “do it all” places you at risk for physical and mental health detriments. Many family caregivers report that they feel alone and unsure of what resources are available to them and what steps they can take to decrease their stress levels. Knowing the signs of caregiver burnout and becoming knowledgeable about the steps to prevent caregiver burnout are paramount in ensuring your own health so that you can better care for the health and wellness of your loved one.
The Signs of Burnout
Psychologists define burnout as “a debilitating psychological condition brought about by unrelieved stress.” Because burnout is not tangible—burnout isn’t immediately, outwardly apparent in the way that sore throat or rash are, for example, family caregivers can often deny or simply be unaware of the signs of burnout. Sometimes burnout is noticed first by other family members and friends around you. Pay attention to these warning signs:
- Feeling pessimistic and dissatisfied
- Decreased energy or emotional exhaustion
- Withdrawing from friends or social interactions
- Loss of interest in work or enjoyable activities
- Increased use of alcohol or medication to relax
- Becoming impatient, irritable, or argumentative
- Lowered resistance to illness
When your aging parent or loved one needs home care in San Mateo, call Home Care Assistance, we can be reached at (650) 462-6900.