Caregivers live and work a tough and often thankless job.
You work long hours and you deal with a daily combination of physical exhaustion and the difficult emotions that accompany caretaking for a loved one. Given all this it’s unsurprising that caretakers are at high risk of burnout.
But though all caretakers need to watch-out for burnout warning signs there are some caretakers who may face a higher than normal risk of stress and meltdown.
Are you at high risk of burnout?
Read on to learn more about 5 risk factors that up your odds of caretaker burnout - and if you see yourself described below consider what changes you might want to make to reduce the personal price-tag of your caretaking responsibilities.
5 Factors That Increase Your Risk of Caretaker Burnout...
Feeling Unsure about Your New Role as a Caregiver
Are you a wife to your husband or a nurse for his needs?
Are you a son to your father or the caregiver of an elderly patient?
Caregiving shifts the grounds of previously stable relationships and now that you’ve taken on a caretaking role the way you relate to your loved one probably needs to change.
Resolving this new dynamic to everyone’s satisfaction takes some time and effort but until you do role confusion adds greatly to everyday caregiving stress and increases your risk of burnout.
Being Overly Optimistic
In a lot of caregiving scenarios, there’s no real possibility of improvement - in fact, in many situations, the only probable outcome is deterioration…no matter how well you care and no matter how hard you work.
If you are dealing with a permanent or progressive condition it’s important that you accept – with your head and your heart – that you can’t change the course of fate and that no matter what you do you are going to watch things get worse.
Once you can accept this and accept and own the emotions that accompany this fact you can move forward in a more authentic and eyes-open manner – and authenticity and truth are great protectors against stress and burnout.
Trying to Do It All on Your Own
If you think you’re the only one who can or should care for your loved one then you’re on a fast train to burnout.
Caretaking is a 24 hour a day 7 days a week job and you’re a human being like the rest of us who needs sleep and time off and the company of other friends and family on occasion.
If you can’t learn to say no, set limits and ask for help when you need it then you’re at high risk of burnout – and you’re no good to anyone once the stress wears you down.
Striving for Perfection
When you add on a new full-time job (caregiving) onto to your existing responsibilities you’ve got to learn to cut yourself a little slack every now and again.
It’s not all going to go perfectly. That’s OK – you’ll do the best you can, you’ll learn as you go and you will do right where and when it really matters.
Failing to Educate Yourself about Burnout
One of the greatest risk factors for complete burnout is failing to notice or heed the warning signs as they emerge.
Caregivers risk burnout. It’s just a fact. You need to understand the reality of this serious stress condition and understand that you aren’t immune to it - no matter how strong you might think you are.
Learn more about burnout and look for the warning signs that might indicate its emergence – and if you do see signs of burnout, make sure you make the serious changes necessary to protect yourself. 1 2
Page last updated Jul 06, 2012