What is caregiver burnout?
The caregiving journey can be a joyful and rewarding experience, but it does come with some pitfalls along the way. This is normal, and even the most organized and selfless caregiver will go through these low points every once in a while and experience caregiver stress and burnout.
Caregiver burnout refers to feeling unable to continue to provide the best care.
Whether you are a dementia caregiver, mental health professional, nurse, elderly parent caregiver, or nursing home caregiver, you’ve probably felt stressed out at least once in your day as you try to balance your role as a caregiver with your life outside of caregiving.
Avoiding caregiver stress and burnout
Although being a caregiver will bring a certain amount of stress, we know there are some things that can put a caregiver at increased risk for caregiver burnout.
Caregiver burnout refers to feeling unable to continue to provide the best care to the person or patient you are caring for, not because you aren’t trying or don’t want to, but because you are emotionally or physically spent.
Caregiver burnout checklist
Sometimes caregivers don’t realize that they’re experiencing caregiver burnout even if they have acknowledged to themselves or to others that they feel an increasing amount of stress and pressure.
This caregiver stress and burnout checklist outlines some key questions and warning signs to help you identify if you are at risk for caregiver burnout.
- Do you feel any symptoms of depression?
- Do you feel you are being pulled in many directions?
- Do you feel like you are trapped in your role as a caregiver?
- Is there conflict amongst the people closest to you and the person you are caring for?
- Do you feel you are not getting support from other people?
- Is the person you are caring for placing unrealistic demands and expectations on you?
- Do you feel like you are unable to meet the expectations and needs (physical and emotional) of the person you are caring for?
- Are you unable to communicate effectively with others around you?
- Is your health or the health of the person you are caring for getting worse?
- Do you feel overwhelmed?
Coping with caregiver burnout
If you have identified with many of the questions listed above it is a sign you may need help coping with or preventing caregiver burnout.
It is important to start taking care of yourself as a caregiver. This may mean changing some things about how you care for yourself and/or getting some support for you, or additional help for the person you are caring for.
Just because you feel like you’re all alone in your caregiver journey, doesn’t mean that’s the case.
Talk to someone you trust like a doctor, family member, or friend if you think that you’re experiencing caregiver burnout.