I appreciate Christine Scott’s series, Laura’s Story, where first she recalls her sister’s birth and slow development and then the impact of her seizures and her battle with cancer. Sometimes the trials and health concerns seem to be never ending, causing stress and fatigue to the individual and the caregiver. In part three Christine wrote, “Yesterday I asked my mom how she did it and she said, ‘You just have to pull yourself up by the bootstraps and take it one step at a time.’ Then she smiled and added, ‘I’m made of good pioneer stock where the fittest survive.’”
Both statements are true, but what if you’re in a slump and can no longer pull yourself up by the bootstraps? I imagine every caregiver has periods where stress, exhaustion and/or depression set in. If those feelings last for an extended period of time, medical attention may be necessary. Stress and depression are treatable disorders. If you want to help prevent burnout, consider turning to the following resources I found on http://www.webmd.com/women/caregiver-recognizing-burnout?page=3#1 for help with your caregiving:
- Home health services—These agencies provide home health aides and nurses for short-term care, if your loved one is acutely ill. Some agencies provide short-term respite care.
- Adult day care—These programs offer a place for seniors to socialize, engage in a variety of activities, and receive needed medical care and other services.
- Nursing homes or assisted living facilities—These institutions sometimes offer short-term respite stays to provide caregivers a break from their caregiving responsibilities.
- Private care aides—These are professionals who specialize in assessing current needs and coordinating care and services.
- Caregiver support services—These include support groups and other programs that can help caregivers recharge their batteries, meet others coping with similar issues, find more information, and locate additional resources.
- Aging services—Contact your local Agency on Aging or your local chapter of the AARP for services available in your area such as adult day care services, caregiver support groups, and respite care.
- National organizations—Look in a phone directory or search online for local agencies (such as Family Caregiver Alliance), chapters of national organizations dedicated to assisting people with illnesses such as Parkinson’s disease or stroke. These groups can provide resources and information about respite care and support groups.
What has been your experience with the above suggestions? How do you prevent burnout? Sharing your experiences in the comment box can help another caregiver.