The holidays are a special time for getting together and reconnecting with family and friends. As a caregiver, however, you might be struggling to manage the needs of providing care for someone living with Alzheimer’s or other memory challenges.
Caregiver burnout can affect many areas of daily life—including the quality of care you can offer those you love.
Kensington Place Redwood City hosted a free, interactive caregiver workshop (via Zoom) on Dec. 6 from 6-7 p.m. with Kensington Support Coach Susie Sarkisian.
Susan and her panel will discuss the unique challenges the holiday season can bring and offer real-world tips and insights on how to slow down during the holiday and savor the moments that make memories.
How to balance the role of caregiving and self-care
Many caregivers feel guilty at just the thought of taking time for themselves because of a strong sense of family and duty to care for their family members and loved ones.
And that can result in placing unrealistic demands on ourselves.
Before too long, we might skip meals, develop poor sleeping habits, and even withdraw from family and friends.
Staying aware of how you’re feeling and adjusting as you go along can help you keep self-care and caregiving in balance.
Small changes to your day can have a lasting impact on how you feel, not just during the holidays but throughout the year.
Ways to incorporate methods of stress relief and self-care into your busy routine
As a caregiver, one of the best gifts you can give your family during the holidays is your well-being.
Self-care doesn’t have to be elaborate—you can take small actions that will positively affect your overall well-being, such as:
- Focus on eating foods that nourish your body
- Get enough sleep to feel rested
- Take a little time each day to focus on something you enjoy, like watching a favorite TV show, reading a book, or going for an early morning walk
- Take a break from social media
We’ll talk about these and other ideas and how to incorporate them during our Dec. 6 workshop.
If you just can’t seem to carve out a few extra minutes during the day for self-care, it might be time to consider reaching out to others for help.
Caring for yourself as a caregiver isn’t selfish—it’s one of the most selfless tasks you can undertake.
When to ask for help, and how to not be afraid of doing it
As a caregiver, reaching out and asking for help can feel difficult. But not asking for help when you need it can leave you feeling overwhelmed and eventually cause you to “burn out.”
To help protect yourself against caregiver burnout, start by asking yourself questions and pinpointing areas that might benefit from outside support. If you’re anxious about handing tasks over to someone else, look for ways to share or lessen the demand.
For example, could you grocery shop with a friend instead of going alone? Having a second set of hands can not only speed up the task but being able to chat with a friend can make the experience less stressful.
When caregiving becomes too much: The signs and symptoms of burnout
Caregiver burnout can happen to anyone.
Many caregivers become so accustomed to doing what’s necessary that they may not realize they’re on the road to burning out.
Caregiver burnout can take many forms. Common signs and symptoms include:
- Feeling tired more often or never really feeling rested
- Experiencing anxiousness, stress, or depression
- Feeling that the situation is hopeless
- Becoming irritable or easily angered
- Losing interest in hobbies, activities, or interests that were once important
- Experiencing insomnia, including difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
- Catching colds easily or always feeling run down
If any of these symptoms sound familiar, it’s time to prioritize your health and well-being. It’s time to focus on self-care for the caregiver.
The good news is that caregiver burnout is reversible.
It starts by reaching out to the family, friends, neighbors, and those around you. And consider connecting with organized support groups, such as religious or social organizations and online support groups.
You’ll be surprised at how quickly people can help you with caregiver burnout.
Letting others lend a hand so you can get a little extra sleep or some much-needed downtime will benefit you—and your loved ones.
How Kensington Place Redwood City devotes care to both seniors and caregivers
At Kensington Place Redwood City, we make a Promise to our residents and their families: to love and care for them as we love and care for our families.
Navigating family dynamics around decision-making for a loved one can be a challenge at the best of times, one that requires even more patience and understanding during the holiday season.
At The Kensington Place Redwood City, we’re here to help you face these challenges daily.
Kensington Senior Living—your partners in caregiving
Kensington Place Redwood City, is an assisted living and memory care residence—including Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia—built around our core values of love for seniors, respect for each other, a passion for excellence and a spirit to serve.
Each experienced, professional, caring team member of our community helps us meet these values every day.
The Kensington Place Redwood City offers support for our residents, geared to their individual needs, from dementia care and rehabilitation services to accommodation of dietary needs and preferences in a fine dining atmosphere.
We strive to assist our residents as they live their best lives.
At Kensington Place Redwood City, we understand the challenges you’re facing.
Or contact us to schedule a personal tour of our facility and experience the Kensington difference for yourself.