Caregivers, by their nature, will tend to the needs of others before looking after themselves. However, it’s important that caregivers don’t neglect their own health and wellbeing, or else they are likely to experience burnout and this would impact negatively on the quality of care they provide to patients.
Burnout is a common problem among caregivers and, if you’ve noticed a change in the mood or behavioral habits of a caregiver recently, that could hint at a lack of self-care. Common warning signs of caregiver burnout include a lack of energy, a shortness of temper, a decline in the standard of care being provided and the loss of enjoyment for the job. If a caregiver forgets why they took up the role in the first place, this is a sign that they might have lost their passion for the job.
Caregivers are 100% entitled to take time for themselves, even if it goes against their nature. Indeed, by allowing a little self-indulgence, they could enhance the caregiver-patient relationship in the long-term, as this little breather will help them to rediscover their love for caregiving and build up their energy levels. It’s important also that caregivers don’t push family and friends aside, as their support will be vital if the caregiver feels burnt out or demoralized.
Friends and family of caregivers could also play their part in offering practical support by asking to help with personal tasks that might take some of the load off the caregiver’s shoulders, or even by making themselves available for a chat or asking how the caregiver is feeling. These deeds might seem small or even derisory, but they will be hugely appreciated by a caregiver who may be feeling burnt out.