CARING IN DuPage
HOW YOU CAN BALANCE L I FE ’ S CHALLENGES 3 Ways Families Can Prevent Burnout
O ver the years, I’ve seen many family members serving as caregivers struggle with burnout. That’s because providing in- home care isn’t just a physically taxing job — on your feet constantly, lifting and performing other labor-intensive tasks — but also emotionally draining. Human beings aren’t naturally inclined to deal with pain and suffering every day, and that’s why the work our nurses do is truly special. Many of our aides work with patients a few days a week, but family members often live with their loved ones. When the caregiver leaves, it’s the relatives’ responsibility to assist the person in need on top of careers and families of their own. Trying to balance everything becomes a stressor in and of itself, but add in the range of emotions, and it just becomes too much. I wanted to provide a few strategies to help. Self-Care “You’re only as good to your loved one as you are to yourself” is what I often tell family members dealing with this pain. It’s easy to become overwhelmed when you’re taking care of someone you care about, especially when you have your own family to raise. When you have parents to attend to on top of children, finding time for yourself becomes a significant challenge. I recommend starting with a heavy amount of care and then letting off the throttle if
need be. Rather than beginning with a caregiver one or two days a week, only to realize it isn’t enough, try starting with several days a week, and then dial it back if needed.
Support Groups Emotional challenges can be seen as an inferior battle for many, but this mindset limits the ability to truly help. I
recommend that everyone, especially those with long-term diseases, seek a support group.
While caregivers and family can help, having someone who can relate to the pain on all levels is crucial. It’s important for patients to know it’s okay to feel stressed. Many individuals don’t know where to find support groups, so if you have questions, I encourage you to reach out to me. We have great resources. Golden Rule Let’s face it, family can be … well, family. But no matter how big the challenge, I think it’s pivotal to care for your loved one the way you would want to be cared for, especially in cases of dementia. This disease is near and dear to my heart, and I think it can also be the most stressful to deal with.
Finally, don’t be afraid to lean on your community. Churches and other organizations often reach out to help with meals, and I think it’s crucial to accept help in times of need.
At BrightStar Care, we want to support families in any way possible, which often means offering up advice for the times when our caregivers aren’t in the home. I hope these three ideas help, and if you have more questions, call us today so we can explore your options together. —Diane Thorson irector of Nursing & Compliance
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