April 2014

Being a caregiver for an elderly family member can be very demanding, both physically and emotionally. It is no surprise that many caregivers experience burnout. Caregivers often feel pressure to assume additional responsibility as time passes and neglect to take time out for themselves.

Here are a few key tips to avoid burnout:

Ask Family Members for Help
When an aging parent needs care, one adult child may assume a greater share of the work than their adult siblings. This may be intentional or unavoidable, if other siblings work full-time or live farther away from the parent. Often, the imbalance is not acknowledged or even understood. It may be that those siblings who are not the primary caregivers simply do not know how much work is involved. In this situation, it can be important to have a family meeting. The primary caregiver can use such a gathering to inform other family members of the details of their parent's condition, and what is needed in terms of care. Once the caregiver explains in detail the amount of work that is involved, a perfect opportunity arises to ask other family members to contribute and help.

Try a Support Group
Being a caregiver can be very isolating. One may spend a great deal of time alone with the elderly parent. Other relatives and friends, who are not caregivers, may not appreciate the amount of work involved and may not understand the caregiver's frustration or exhaustion. Getting together in a support group is an excellent way to share resources and talk about day-to-day experiences with other caregivers in similar circumstances. Caregivers may be reluctant to attend a support group because of time constraints or because they downplay the significance of their work. However, most people have a positive experience when they attend support groups...Click here to read more.

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