Supporting Caregivers When Burnout Sets In

If you’ve stepped up to care for a loved one, then you understand the weight of the responsibility—providing long-term care to a family member or friend is one of the most selfless things that a person can do. Unfortunately, caregiving can also: 

  • Make it difficult to eat nutritious meals, exercise, sleep, socialize, and do everything else needed to maintain a healthy lifestyle 
  • Increase stress levels 
  • Compromise the function of the immune system 
  • Increase the risk of anxiety and depression  
  • Cause financial hardship 

Not only does this physical, mental, emotional, and financial strain affect caregivers themselves, but also the people they’re caring for. In fact, according to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 53% of caregivers indicated that a decline in their health would compromise their ability to provide care. 

At DispatchHealth, we understand the toll that caring for a loved one can take, and we want to do everything we can to support caregivers with and without our services. 

Ask for Help 

If you have family members with some time on their hands—whether it be siblings, your spouse, adult children, or whoever else—don’t be afraid to ask them to take on some of the load so that you can pencil in some “me time.” Maybe that involves sitting with your loved one while you head to a coffee date or the gym or stopping by once or twice a week to clean so that you can take that chore off your plate. 

Even if you don’t have anyone in your life who can shoulder some of the responsibility, there are other ways to get the help you need. For example, if you’re struggling to keep up with household tasks, hire a housekeeper. Or if you’re low on food, spend the extra money to have groceries delivered to you. The time and effort that you’ll save will be well worth it. 

Plus, when your loved one is feeling ill, you can have treatment administered in the comfort of their own home thanks to DispatchHealth’s mobile healthcare services. We’re pleased to bring same-day medical care to patients’ homes for conditions that don’t require a trip to the emergency room. 

Our in-home services are especially helpful for caregivers like you. Imagine how much easier it would be to simply remain at home with your loved ones rather than getting them dressed and ready to leave the house, transporting them to a brick-and-mortar office, waiting for them to be seen, and then driving them back home again. Not only would this require considerably less effort on your part, but it would also free up your time to do laundry, start dinner, and accomplish everything else you need to get done around the house while you wait for our team to arrive. 

Learn to Say “No” 

Even if you can’t or don’t wish to give up your caregiving responsibilities, you can still take steps to make the other aspects of your life easier. Some things can’t be avoided, like work and school. Nonetheless, having personal boundaries is important, so don’t hesitate to say “no” to coordinating the PTA bake sale, attending that friend-of-a-friend’s engagement party, or anything else that isn’t truly essential. 

Stay Focused on Your Own Goals 

As a caregiver, you probably devote a significant amount of your time and energy to thinking about your loved one’s needs. But don’t let your own goals fall by the wayside. Whether it be something as small as increasing your water intake each day, or something as large as planning an international getaway for some point in the future, keeping your own dreams in mind can make all the difference in the world. 

Remember That You’re Not Alone 

When you spend every day attending to your loved one’s needs at home, it can be easy to start feeling isolated. Keep in mind, though, that there are countless other caregivers out there experiencing the same difficulties as you. In fact, 25% of the participants in the CDC study mentioned above reported providing assistance to someone with a long-term illness or disability in the 30 days prior. Consider joining a support group, where you’ll be able to commiserate with those in the same position as you and possibly even learn some tips and tricks that could make life easier. And if you’re still struggling, you may want to speak with a therapist. 

Request a Visit From DispatchHealth 

If your loved one requires medical care for a non-emergency condition and you’d rather avoid leaving the house, request a visit from DispatchHealth. You can schedule an appointment by phone, through our mobile app, or on our website. 

* Please note: For life-threatening and time-sensitive injuries and illnesses, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room. DispatchHealth shouldn’t be used in a life-threatening emergency and doesn’t replace a primary care provider. 

Sources 

DispatchHealth relies only on authoritative sources, including medical associations, research institutions, and peer-reviewed medical studies. 

Sources referenced in this article: 

  1. https://www.aarp.org/caregiving/life-balance/info-2019/caregiver-stress-burnout.html  
  2. https://www.cdc.gov/aging/caregiving/index.htm  
  3. https://www.healthinaging.org/tools-and-tips/tip-sheet-avoiding-caregiver-burnout  
  4. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/caregiver-stress/art-20044784