Being a caregiver to someone with Alzheimer's disease can be tough. On one hand, you are happy and relieved to be able to provide the help that your loved one so desperately needs. But on the other hand, caregiving is a very stressful job that can cause even the strongest individuals to burn out quickly.
Caregivers may start to notice the signs of burn out well before they actually experience them. Caregiving can cause stress, anxiety, depression, anger, resentment, and feelings of being extremely overwhelmed. Before this happens, take the proper steps to avoid becoming burned out from part-time or full-time caregiving duties. Here are tips on how to stay positive and avoid burnout while you take care of your loved one.
1. Let others know you need help.
Caregivers often feel like they are 100% responsible for their loved one, especially when that person is a parent. But no one can do it alone. Talk to others openly and honestly about what needs to be done. Don't be afraid to ask other family members for help when you realize you need it. If you're struggling to ask for help, check out these tips to create a support network.
2. Let the little things go.
It's easy to get frustrated when things aren't going your way. However, stressing over every little thing isn't going to do anybody any good. Let the little issues go and focus on the big picture. Don't blame yourself.
3. Stay focused on the positive.
We know your loved one may be gradually declining in health, both mentally and physically. There is only so much you can do for them, so focus on the positive aspects of your relationship. Encourage communication and growth in the areas that your loved one is still doing well in.
4. Hire help if you need it.
You can't care for someone with Alzheimer's all the time without experiencing stress. When you take a much-needed break, don't feel guilty about asking for help. You can call another family member or hire an in-home caregiver while you are away. We all need a little help here and there.
Caregiving can be rewarding, but it can also be challenging. Caregivers are at risk for the harmful health effects of caregiver stress but there are ways to manage it. To find out more download our free caregiver stress fact sheet.