If you’re the type of person who puts others before yourself, you may not be aware of when your personal wellbeing gets put on the back burner. It can be especially difficult if you are taking care of a loved one with Alzheimer’s or dementia. When caregiving becomes too much, you not only take a detrimental toll on your own health, but possibly on whose receiving the care as well.
When you are mentally and physically drained from the ongoing day in and day out of assisting someone with memory loss, it can also result in a tough decision on whether to keep your role, or pass it on to a professional or senior living community.
Senior living communities have been providing memory care for years, but you want to be there for your loved one as much as possible. You may feel obligated to be the primary caregiver for your loved one so that they can receive not just quality of care, but quality of life. Kensington Place is different.
We have a promise to love and care for your family, as we do our own. We vow to make their care one that’s not just expert, but compassionate. If you are a caregiver experiencing burnout, we’ve provided the signs and ways of prevention that you can take into account for this decision.
Caregiver Burnout – What is it?
Caregiver burnout is a state of not just feeling overwhelmed, but includes the physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion that may result in depression, agony, and anxiety. When you are burnt out, your attitude changes to reflect an ongoing internal battle. This can in turn affect your ability to concentrate and socialize, and ultimately make life difficult for not just oneself.
Signs that You Can’t Ignore
It’s normal for life to get the best of us every now and then. There are several signs of caregiver burnout that are aside from the usual bout of stress. Here are a few to watch out for:
- Physical burden: insomnia, exhaustion, reduced strength and stamina
- Psychological burden: feeling irritable, angry, depressed, unable to concentrate, having a hard time with memory due to grief and sadness
- Social withdrawal and feelings of aloneness
- Financial trouble: loss of job or ability to maintain work responsibilities
Steps to Prevention and Preparedness
These signs should not be ignored, as they can be the way to understand and protect yourself from succumbing to caregiver burnout. There are several recommended ways to keep yourself in good shape to prevent this from happening. Relieving caregiver stress is easier said than done, but keep these helpful tips in mind if you want to make sure your personal wellbeing is in check:
- Maintain a sleep schedule. It’s well known that a good night’s sleep is key to a healthy lifestyle. Being sleep deprived keeps one from being focused and tuned into important responsibilities. As a caregiver, you can’t let your concentration be affected when your loved one needs you the most. To better prevent tiredness, stick to a schedule and perhaps avoid caffeine in the evening hours and screen time on electronic devices an hour before bed.
- Eat nutritious meals and stay hydrated. Food is quite literally our fuel! The nutrients we consume give us our daily vitamins, but also our energy. Including healthy snacks throughout the day can help if you’re especially busy and don’t have the time to sit and eat a full meal. Drinking enough water each day is also important so that you can stay hydrated, and keep the body going.
- Physical activity. It doesn’t have to be a full blown workout at a well equipped gym. Simply taking the time to set aside 15 to 20 minutes for a nice walk around the block, or a strength building routine can make all the difference. Exercise is not just a mood booster due to the endorphins it releases, but will also make you feel more energized.
- Give yourself a break. This is probably the hardest tip of them all. How can one make time for themselves when their loved one is the priority? While it may seem daunting, it’s crucial to allow yourself a little down time in your caregiving schedule. Being self aware is what gives you the ability to check in with yourself and your stress level. Some great ways to take time for yourself are meditation, deep breathing exercises, yoga, or hobbies you enjoy such as reading, art, travel, time with your pet, etc.
When It’s Time for a Decision
If you start to notice that your role as your loved one’s caregiver is really too much to bare, there is no need to feel any sense of guilt. Though Alzheimer’s and dementia can be a difficult journey, it is not something that you or your family have to go through alone. Memory care is on the rise across the country.
At Kensington Place, we are a unique senior living community that provides two “neighborhoods” to suit every stage of memory loss. With state of the art therapies and care that’s exceptionally knowledgeable, you can be rest assured the care provided will fit the needs of your loved one.
We believe our residents need to not only be given the care that best suits their needs, but also makes them feel at home. It is our promise to love and care for your family as we do our own. If your loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and is experiencing memory loss – no matter the stage – Kensington Place is here to help. We invite you to tour our community or get in touch with us if you are ready to seek compassionate care.