Those who provide care for residents in senior living communities know the importance of their work. They serve a vulnerable population who looks to them for help in meeting their daily needs and to also provide companionship and a sense of belonging.
There are many advantages to this profession, but there can also be a downside:
Being aware of the signs and taking steps to prevent it from happening is the best course of action.
What is caregiver burnout?
Caregiver burnout can be experienced by those who watch over a loved one at home or professionals who provide care and attention in a community. It can be defined as a state of physical, emotional and mental exhaustion.
Often contributing to the state of burnout is the natural characteristic that many caregivers seem to possess – they often neglect their own health. Other factors can include:
- Unrealistic expectations
- Lack of control over a situation
- Unreasonable demands
- Lack of resources
- Too many responsibilities to handle
Signs of caregiver burnout
The following signs may signal you’re beginning to experience burnout:
- Feeling more fatigued or tired
- Developing headaches or stomach aches
- Changes in appetite causing you to gain or lose weight
- Feelings of trepidation or anxiety about going to work
- Feeling unappreciated by the residents, coworkers and management
- Feeling overworked and unable to stay caught up
Source: CNA Plus Academy
9 steps to avoid caregiver burnout
Consider the following suggestions to keep yourself healthy and help prevent burnout:
- Keep your work in perspective
You can’t be all things to all people. Understand the limits of your ability to change the circumstances of those you care for. This can help you maintain a realistic perspective about what you can do.
In turn, this might also relieve you from feelings of guilt and frustration that you are failing at your work. Be honest in your own expectations.
- Work for organizations that support their employees
Search for employers who have policies in place and strongly support their employees to not only provide the best care possible for the residents but also to take care of themselves.
Working for senior living communities who understand the type of stress that caregiving can bring can help you better manage the challenges.
- Take a real break from work
You may not be able to make your work any easier but taking a break from your job can go a long way in helping you to feel refreshed and re-energized.
Make sure you’re not taking your work home with you. Find ways to be fully present when you are home with your family and friends.
- Ask for support at home
If you’re leaving a full day of caring for others to arrive home to continue to care for your family, burnout can quickly follow.
Ask for support from the others in your household to share some of the responsibilities. And remember, even young children can contribute.
- Take care of yourself
It is essential that you take care of yourself. If you don’t, you won’t be able to effectively take care of others and be successful at your job.
Start by including an exercise program into your daily routine. Make sure you’re eating a healthy diet and don’t overlook the importance of getting a good night’s rest regularly.
- Learn new coping skills
If you are struggling to cope with the stress or the strain of work, seek out opportunities to learn new skills.
Check out relaxation techniques that might include yoga, meditation or deep breathing exercises. Taking a long walk or a hot bath can also release tension.
- Talk to co-workers for advice or tips
Your co-workers and others who have experience working in senior living can be great resources to help you avoid burnout.
It helps to talk with those who know both the rewards and the difficulties of this type of work. You can benefit from their suggestions on what may have helped them.
- Educate yourself about caregiver burnout
The more you know about burnout, the more successful you can be at navigating the challenge. Learning the steps you can take to avoid it and what to do if you develop it can greatly help.
Search out reliable sources that can provide information on burnout, specifically as it involves those who provide care professionally.
- Ask for help
If you feel yourself beginning to develop some of the common symptoms of caregiver burnout, take action – as it likely will not go away on its own.
If you need more help and are struggling to manage all of your responsibilities, reach out to a professional who has experience in working with caregivers and knows the challenges of your work.
Joining the team at Sinceri Senior Living
Sinceri Senior Living specializes in independent living, assisted living, memory care, and skilled nursing, fostering deep bonds between those who live and work in our communities – just like families.
We extend our commitment in creating this welcoming environment to our employees who form strong relationships with the residents and their coworkers. In fact, many of our team members think of the community they work in as their second home because of such strong connections.
The caregiver’s role is to first make our residents feel safe and secure. We strive to ensure everyone we hire is generous, compassionate and as committed as we are to provide excellent service at every opportunity.
We understand the stress that caregivers can experience and the challenge in trying to stay one step ahead of what a resident or family member might need or desire. We fully support their efforts as it truly takes a team to provide quality senior care.
If you’re interested in becoming a care partner with Sinceri Senior Living as we strive together to exceed expectations, we hope you’ll be in touch.
We also invite you to download our complimentary guide, Simple Self-Care for Caregivers and CNAs: 6 Ways to Take Care of Yourself so You can Care for Others, which includes helpful tips and steps you might try.