AlzU Blog

Tip for Dealing with Caregiver Burnout Part II

As a caregiver, you may be taken off guard by the many tasks required for full time around the clock care of a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease (AD). 

Caregiver fatigue and burnout is a state of emotional and physical exhaustion caused by lack of attention (medical, physical, social or emotional) to the needs of the person providing full or part time care.  Mood may drastically change from positive to negative, other symptoms may include:

• Guilt when taking time for self
• Withdraw from friends
• Loss of interest in social activities and hobbies
• Irritability, hopelessness or helplessness
• Changes in appetite resulting in weight gain or loss
• Increased frequency in illnesses
• Feeling emotionally or physically exhausted

To a busy caregiver, it may seem impossible to carve out time for oneself, but it’s absolutely mandatory for the long term mental and physical health of the caregiver and overall best interest of the loved one with Alzheimer’s disease.  When a caregiver is experiencing burnout, he/she may have very little to give in terms of emotional support, patience, tolerance or attention to the many needs of the person with AD. 

Taking regular time off to de-stress and recharge is mandatory for all caregivers.  You must set aside regular breaks each day and every week.  Every few months take an even longer break to go on a vacation or simply relax at home. 

Caregivers must learn to ask friends and family for help and/or enroll your loved one in an adult day care or hire professionals or volunteers to help with meals, chores and to provide respite care.
Be sure to schedule some social time with others.  If you are having a particularly difficult time following up with taking time for yourself, consider joining a caregiver support group to get feedback and support from other caregivers.

A regular workout routine is a must for caregivers.  Be sure to consult your physician before starting any exercise regime. 

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