How to Avoid Caregiver Burnout?
Depression is a common problem that nearly half of caregivers deal with (41% according to this 2018 study). The full weight and responsibility of taking care of a loved one falling heavily on a caregiver or home care aide. How can we avoid it? How do we soothe the pains and frustrations that can feel so common for those providing home health care? Research can show a myriad of methods to help, but our experience gives us three broad categories to target, seeking other people, working through self-care, and taking a break.
Seek Out Other People
The number one thing you can do to avoid depression or burnout is to seek out other people. That can take many different forms from a formalized support group like the PCA Caregiver Support Program to a local church ministry. It is easy to fall into feelings of isolation, which only serves to exacerbate the issues that home health aides may have.
Take Better Self-Care
Secondly, self-care is an important aspect of dealing with Caregiver burnout. Home health aides are encouraged to seek out and improve their mental and physical wellbeing. Studies show that roughly 20% of participants dealing with depression found that therapy was an effective treatment. In line with that, exercise can also be just as effective as taking antidepressants, giving a release of endorphins that can help you feel better. In only five minutes, aerobic exercise can help produce powerful anti-anxiety effects. It’s important for Caregivers and home health aides to realize that taking great care of oneself is the first step of providing good care for others.
Take A Break!
Finally, try taking a break. Periodically asking for and getting relief from a relative or friend can be an elixir for a weary spirit. It’s important for Home health aides and Caregivers to appreciate that they are an important part of a larger support group. Take the time for a walk around the neighborhood, have dinner with friends, or just go shopping, whatever it is that you enjoy. Caregiver burnout is a serious obstacle, but it’s manageable with care and focused attention.