Are You at Risk for Caregiver Burnout?
You're less likely to burn out if you share caregiving tasks with other people, Austrom says.
Consider these options:
Ask friends and family to help. Some caregivers use online calendars so the people in their lives can easily sign up to handle tasks. The Alzheimer's Association offers a "care team calendar" on its web site.
You may also bring your circle of friends and family together through Facebook or other social media.
Enroll your loved one in an adult day care program for people with Alzheimer's. He or she can visit with other people while you enjoy a few hours to run errands or simply relax.
Find alternate care for a few weeks. Your loved one with Alzheimer's may be able to stay for a week or two at a long-term care facility. That will give you a break. Caregivers have told Austrom that these breaks helped them relax and feel more able to provide their caregiving duties.
Share some tasks with a home health aide. If you hire a home health aide part time, they can drop in and help with some of the caregiving tasks.
Contact your Area Agency on Aging. Doing this, says Linda Davis, PhD, RN, professor emerita at Duke University, can point you toward other resources that may be able to help. These resources include adult day cares and home health services. You can find your agency's contact number through the web sites of the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging or the U.S. Administration on Aging.
Talk to Other Caregivers
Make time to visit a support group for caregivers in your area.
At a support group, you may learn ways to have less stress while you care for your loved one. You'll also see how other caregivers are dealing with their own challenges, Austrom says.
You can also try an online support group. The Alzheimer's Association, for example, hosts an online community group.
Protect Your Own Health
"Sometimes caregivers, in their zeal to care for their loved ones, will stop taking care of themselves," Austrom says.