Heart Failure and Caregiver Burnout
How Can I Prevent It?
Take these steps to help prevent caregiver burnout:
Get a sounding board. Find someone you trust -- such as a friend, co-worker, or neighbor -- to talk with about your feelings and frustrations.
Set realistic goals. Accept that you may need help with caregiving. Turn to others for help with some tasks.
Be honest with yourself about your loved one's disease, especially if it is a progressive disease.
Don't forget about yourself because you're too busy caring for someone else. Set aside time for yourself, even if it's just an hour or two. Remember, taking care of yourself is not a luxury, it’s an absolute necessity for caregivers.
Talk to a professional. Most therapists, social workers, and clergy members are trained to counsel folks dealing with a wide range of physical and emotional issues.
Take advantage of respite care services. They provide a temporary break for caregivers. This can range from a few hours of in-home care to a short stay in a nursing home or assisted living facility.
Know your limits. Do a reality check of your personal situation. Recognize and accept your potential for caregiver burnout.
Educate yourself. The more you know about your loved one's illness, the better the care you can give him or her.
Develop new tools for coping. Remember to lighten up and focus on the positive. Use humor to help deal with everyday stress.
Stay healthy. You can do this by eating right and getting plenty of exercise and sleep.
Accept your feelings. Having negative feelings -- such as frustration or anger -- about your responsibilities or the person for whom you are caring is normal. It doesn’t mean you’re a bad person or a bad caregiver.
Join a support group. Sharing your feelings and experiences with others in the same situation can help you manage stress, locate helpful resources, and reduce feelings of frustration and isolation.
Where Can I Turn?
If you already have symptoms of caregiver burnout, get help. Stress and depression are treatable. If you want to prevent burnout, consider turning to the following resources: