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Caregivers; Are You Burning Out?

November 26, 2015

By Editor
Caregiving is often physically and emotionally stressful. In an effort to provide the best care possible, you might put your loved one's needs before your own. In turn, you could develop feelings of sadness, anger and loneliness. Sometimes, these emotions can trigger caregiver depression. It is not unusual for caregivers to develop depression as a result of the constant demands placed on them while providing care. In an effort to provide the best care possible for their loved one, caregivers often sacrifice their own emotional and physical needs, which can take a heavy toll – even on the most resilient person.
Here are some tips to prevent burnout.

·         Ask for help: Is there another family member or a friend you can ask to be more involved. You may also consider seeking out respite services or caregiver support groups. The Alzheimer Society offers caregiver drop-in support groups 4 times a month with daytime and evening sessions. Go to alzheimerlondon.ca/support-groups for upcoming opportunities.
·         Remember other Relationships: Showing love ones and friends you care about them can give you strength and hope, it’s important to make time for all those you care about and care about you.
·         Start a Journal: You may have ditched your childhood diary long ago, but keeping a journal can help you gain control of your emotions and improve your mental health.
·         “You” Time: Taking time for yourself every day, even just a few minutes, is one way to help you recharge. Reducing your stress will make you a better caregiver.
·         Stay Positive: Despite the endless pressures placed upon you, caregiving allows you to make a positive difference in your loved one’s life. It’s good for your happiness and health to find ways to stay positive. At the end of the day, it’s about believing in the power of good, not bad.
   
·         Depressed mood most of the day, nearly every day such as feeling sad, empty or tearful
·         A change in eating habits resulting in unwanted weight gain or loss
·         A change in sleep patterns—too much sleep or not enough
·         Feeling tired all the time or a loss of energy nearly everyday
·         A loss of interest in people and/or activities that once brought you pleasure
·         Feeling that nothing you do is good enough
·         Either restless or slowed behaviour that can be observed by others
·         Trouble with decision-making or trouble thinking or concentrating on a nearly daily basis
·         Thoughts of death or suicide, or attempting suicide
·         Ongoing physical symptoms that do not respond to treatment, such as headaches, digestive disorders and chronic pain
If you are concerned that you might be depressed, see your doctor or mental health care provider as soon as possible Untreated, depression can lead to emotional and physical problems. It can also affect the quality of care you are able to provide to the person with dementia.