When a loved one grows older and falls ill, sustains an injury, or undergoes a major surgery, the natural next move is to start caring for that person. Yet, becoming a family caregiver takes a lot of time, effort, and responsibility. Depending on the extent of your loved one’s needs, caregiving can range from part-time to full-time, even 24-hour work. Although family caregiving may seem like a cost-saving measure, the costs on you as the caregiver can be significant.
Organizations that provide respite care services, like Sunny Days In-Home Care, allow family caregivers to take a few hours out of the day to take care of errands, spend time with friends and other family members, and most importantly rest. This minimizes caregiver fatigue, burnout, and in more serious cases, the chances of becoming depressed.
Caregiver fatigue is caused by the physical and mental exhaustion that comes from giving extensive care for others. Adults need six to nine hours of sleep, but when caring for someone else, sleep and rest is usually pushed to the wayside. Fatigue can lead to many problems, including vulnerability to illness, anxiety, anger, irritability, and impaired judgment, while also negatively impacting concentration and job performance. It can also lead to emotional distress and memory loss.
Caregiver fatigue can eventually lead to burnout. The common signs of caregiver burnout include having less energy than you did before, being more prone to illness, feeling constant exhaustion, neglecting personal needs, and having trouble relaxing. You may also no longer find satisfaction in caring for your loved one. Instead, it feels like a burden, which may lead to feelings of irritability, loneliness, or even defeat.
In severe cases of caregiver burnout, the stress of being a caregiver can lead to depression. A lack of sleep because of the responsibilities that go along with being a 24/7 caregiver, the emotional toll that comes from watching your loved one’s health falter, and many other outside influences can cause you to feel depressed. Talking to a friend or other family member, or even a trained professional, can help you manage these feelings.
Caregiver fatigue, burnout, and depression negatively impact both the caregiver and the person receiving care, and these issues can create feelings of guilt for both parties. To prevent this, using respite care services, like those offered by Sunny Days In-Home Care, is essential. By giving yourself the time to rest and restore, you are ultimately giving better care to your loved one without sacrificing your own health and wellbeing. Contact Sunny Days In-Home Care today to learn more about the services we offer.