Caregiver burnout is a big problem that we see with both professional and family caregivers. Caregiver burnout is “physical, emotional and mental exhaustion,” according to the Cleveland Clinic. This condition is very common, but can also be devastating to the mental health of caregivers. Preventative measures are vital in giving caregivers the support they need to avoid burnout. Professional caregivers and family caregivers may different avenues that they can use to seek out support, so I am going to cover those now.

Family Caregiver Burnout

Here are some things that you can do as a family caregiver to avoid burnout:

  • Talk to someone about the situation with your loved one.
  • Try to find a support group.
  • Make sure to preserve time for self-care, which can be anything. Do anything that will help you process your feelings and give you time to decompress.
  • Hire a caregiver who can provide respite services. We have people who hire our caregivers so they can go grocery shopping or go out with friends, and they know their loved one is under the care of a professional.
  • Know your limits. Know when you need to hire a caregiver or know when your loved one may have to move into a care facility. If your loved one has a progressive disease, it may be best to talk to them early in their diagnosis about what they want regarding facilities. This is especially true if their condition affects their cognition.

Professional Caregiver Burnout

Here are some things professional caregivers can do to avoid burnout:

  • Set firm boundaries with your clients. This can be hard but this is why we do not give our clients their caregivers’ phone numbers. Having firm boundaries will help you be able to decompress when you are not at work.
  • Find a regular activity to do outside of work that helps you unwind.
  • Ask your agency if they have any resources for caregiver burnout.

I suggest that all caregivers educate themselves on the signs of caregiver burnout so they can be prepared and know when to step back. This will help the caregiver  and ensure that the person who needs care has a caregiver who is fit to do so.