Signs of Caregiver Burnout

Burnout Signs

  • You don’t have the energy to do as much as you used to, and energy bars fail to perk you up
  • You frown and grumble more and more often
  • Your enthusiasm for caregiving -- and life -- has evaporated
  • Your immune system is failing.  You catch whatever is going around: bad for your patient as well as for you:
    • Cold
    • Flu
    • Stomach virus 
  • You’re constantly exhausted, even after sleeping or taking a break
  • You sacrifice your own needs and wants, either because you don’t have time or you just don’t care anymore
  • Frustration sets in because there’s little personal joy or pleasure in being the constant caregiver
  • Relaxing is hard, even when someone pitches in to relieve you
  • Unwittingly, you take your frustration and unhappiness out on your patient, who’s not having such a good time either
  • Hopelessness sets in.  You’re overwhelmed.  The job is more than you bargained for
  • Depression sets in and your future, as well as everything around you, looks bleak
  • You’re overcome by a feeling that there’s no life outside of caregiving

Once you experience burn out, caregiving is no longer a healthy option for you or your patient. 

Community Services Are There To Help

Examples are:

  • AtlantiCare Healthcare at Home programs
  • Local Area Agency on Aging
  • Senior Centers
  • Senior service organizations
  • County services and referrals
  • Local universities that have programs or students who are willing to reach out and lend a hand
  • Family Services
  • Veterans Administration, if the patient is a veteran
  • Adult Day Care Programs
  • Medicare
  • Medicaid
  • Your patient’s insurance provider
  • The hospital where your patient was treated
  • Friends
  • Other relatives
  • Your faith-based organization may be able to provide help to both you and your patient
  • A local organization may provide transportation so the patient can enjoy a change of scenery at an adult day care center or other senior activity, providing the physician allows it
  • Your local YMCA may have a program – or be able to suggest one
  • The Internet

As for you personally:

  • Don’t let your emotions be bottled up as they get bigger and bigger, and more overwhelming
  • Join a support group yourself
  • Consult a professional therapist
  • Find a qualified professional counselor
  • Faith-based organizations are often willing and able to help in one way or another (by sending someone to relieve you, or by buoying up your own spirits)

“You can turn painful situations around through laughter.  If you can find humor in anything, even poverty, you can survive it.”  Bill Cosby