Dementia caregivers go through a lot as they tend to their charges. This is especially true when family and friends end up taking care of someone they love.
Burnout is highly likely, as the cycle of forgetfulness never ends and can eventually break a person’s heart – and body.
Being aware of signs that you are getting burned out can help head off some of the problems. Knowing there are other solutions available can help even more.
Signs of Dementia Caregivers Burnout
Burnout takes many different forms, but one stands out among them that nearly every single person suffers from – fatigue.
Tiredness, exhaustion, and sleepiness are all expected when taking care of another person. Not only are you caring for your own needs, but you’re taking care of many of the needs of another person. Almost like a baby, you have to pay attention and be in control of everything.
When it comes to an adult, a regular habit of independence needs to be fought against. They could be giving you a difficult time trying to do something, something that they used to do quite well, that they no longer can. But, they forgot they can’t.
The same arguments and fights will come up over and over again, pulling on your feelings and thoughts relentlessly. Frustration emerges, as does the guilt.
Sleep and the ability to rest and recover are the biggest aids to your long-term health. Most diseases have a track record of people needing more sleep. This is especially true with mental conditions. Depression, dementia, anxiety, and moodiness are all linked to a lack of sleep.
Of course, we know this is hard. Even if you are trying to get enough sleep, it might not be the easiest thing to do. Rituals before bedtime can help ease your mind and encourage you to sleep. Establishing a habit can bring a small bit of comfort. Avoid alcohol and other artificial sleep aids that can cause dependency.
Other signs of caregiver burnout include anxiety, nervousness, forgetfulness, high blood pressure, and increased pain and inflammation.
Paying attention to your body is key to warding off some of these symptoms and getting the appropriate help once you notice them approaching.
Fortunately, sleep can help the majority of these problems.
Getting Help For Dementia Caregivers
So, how are you going to get sleep, especially when there’s so much to do?
That is a complicated question that has no easy answer. You have to look at what’s best for you, your family, and your loved one.
Enlisting more friends and family
Sometimes, all you need is to share the burden. If there are several siblings, close friends, and other people to help out, sharing responsibilities can take the pressure off of any one individual.
However, this is becoming increasingly difficult. The size of families are getting smaller, people are moving farther away from each other, and lives are becoming busier. This is where hiring a service can bring a great benefit to your family.
Some companion services and home health agencies offer trained individuals that will come and spend time with your loved one. It could be as simple as having a person take your family member to their appointments to sitting with them for a few hours doing puzzles.
Some of the more skilled services will offer housekeeping, cooking, help dressing, and bathing services. Most offer an overnight option, where a person will stay with your loved one throughout the night so you can get better sleep.
The next step up from that, and often used together with companion services, is home nursing. These are trained and licensed nurses that come into the home and help with wound care, medications, and minor medical checkups. The nurses can be a big benefit as it can reduce the number of trips your loved one has to take to a doctor.
Home nursing and companion services can offer more Independence to your loved one and give you the break you need to live your own life.
You may need to look into specialty facilities that take care of those with dementia at a certain point. These facilities use special nurses and procedures to keep your loved ones safe and are trained to deal with some of the more violent and unpredictable tendencies seen in many dementia patients.
If the safety of yourself, your loved one, or anyone else is called into question, this may be your only option. Fortunately, these facilities are becoming more abundant and work better with families to keep your loved one safe.
Your health and safety are just as important as your loved ones. The biggest thing you can do for yourself to avoid burnout is to get more sleep. As fatigue is the most common symptom of caretaker burnout, adequate sleep is the solution.
To get that sleep, establishing a ritual to help you sleep is important. But, looking into some companion services or nursing services might be your next step when worry becomes too much. Worry about your loved one should not rob you of your own health.