The biggest challenge for a caregiver is dealing with caregiver burnout. This is not a strange phenomenon as being a caregiver is stressful, time consuming but otherwise a gratifying profession. However, as human as they are, a caregiver succumbs to this burn out and lets it take control of them, especially if they are in charge of the care of patients with Alzheimer’s and/or dementia. It often leads to unwanted behavior and worse, senior abuse. This is a major offense and is not often taken lightly by enforcing agencies. But there are ways on how even the most exhausted caregiver can still manage their stress without resulting into any form of abuse.
This article is meant to offer different ways on how caregiver stress can be handled. Not everything is meant to be followed, but select the options that works the best for you and your case.
A good understanding of the disease goes a long way. One of the biggest reasons why some experience stress burn out from caregiving is because they don’t have an idea on what kind of disease their patient is suffering from in the first place. Thus, this leads to miscommunication and frustration on both the ends of the caregiver and the patient. Every disease calls for a certain type of care whether it is dementia, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, etc.
Put yourselves in their shoes. Consider this: At some point in the future, you will be in their shoes and you yourself may be the one complaining or getting fussy about your own caregiver. Always consider that everything will be a circle and soon you will feel what they have felt too.
Allow them to be independent. Sometimes seniors would like to be independent in their own ways, especially if they have been able to take care of their own selves for a long time.Give them some space to be independent whether it is to select their groceries or take their laundry to the laundry room – in a way it also serves as a form of exercise for them. However, always be within their vicinity just in case they may need help or find themselves in trouble.
Get the support of your senior’s family friends or from fellow caregivers. No man is an island. Same goes to caregivers. If you think you need a breather enlist the help of others. Not only it will give you time to collect yourself, your senior is also exposed to other people and allows them to bond with others. Being surrounded with people is extremely important for the elderly after all.
Be positive. Whether it is your tone or your body language, it creates a ripple effect. Sometimes the simplest yet most positive things can change everything. Senior can be very touchy people, especially if you display actions that may look negative to them or if you sound like you don’t want to be around them. Always be careful on how you speak and how you move around them as it may be the thing that’s harming your relationship with them.