Caring for a disabled, ill or elderly loved one requires tremendous amounts of physical, mental, and emotional energy. Sometimes Caregivers work hard to enable their loved ones to live as independently as possible and with the highest possible quality of life. But studies show that caregivers who don’t look after themselves are at high risk for burnout and depression, physical illnesses, abusive behavior, loss of friends, and strained family relations. Being an effective caregiver involves learning strategies for planning and problem-solving — and for taking care of yourself. The pressures of caregiving can lead to stress and a condition called caregiver burnout.
Two types of caregivers:
The family caregiver (Informal); this could be any relative, partner, friend or neighbor who has a significant personal relationship with, and provides a broad range of assistance for, an older person or an adult with a chronic or disabling condition. These individuals may be primary or secondary caregivers and live with, or separately from, the person receiving care.
The formal caregiver; a provider associated with a formal service system, whether paid or volunteer.
Caregiver responsibilities when providing care include but are not limited to everyday tasks related to personal care usually performed for oneself in the course of a normal day, including bathing, dressing, grooming, eating, walking, taking medications, and other personal care activities.
Signs of caregiver stress
- Feeling overwhelmed or constantly worried.
- Feeling tired often.
- Getting too much sleep or not enough sleep.
- Gaining or losing weight.
- Becoming easily irritated or angry.
- Losing interest in activities you used to enjoy.
- Feeling sad.
- Having frequent headaches, bodily pain or other physical pain
Signs of Caregiver Burnout
- Withdrawal from friends and family.
- Loss of interest in activities previously enjoyed.
- Feeling blue, irritable, hopeless, and helpless.
- Changes in appetite, weight, or both.
- Getting sick more often.
- Feelings of wanting to hurt yourself or the person for whom you are caring.