Envision how it would feel to awaken in an unfamiliar place, not being able to remember how you arrived there or even what your name is. Utter disorientation quickly turns into anger and fear, and you might now discover yourself yelling at the stranger positioned by your bed, talking to you in a quiet voice.
A scenario like this paints a frightening and unfortunately accurate picture of an Alzheimer’s patient’s reality. Now picture standing in front of someone you love, and having that person view you with no recognition at all. Each day your heart breaks a little bit more, but you push through the pain and go on with your caregiving duties for your loved one with Alzheimer’s disease. But as a family caregiver, do you recognize the signs of burnout when caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s?
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), an overwhelming 18.5 billion hours of care are supplied by family caregivers each year to individuals with Alzheimer’s. With the relentless emotional stress that caring for someone with Alzheimer’s can result in, it is without a doubt one of the most stressful forms of care provision. Family caregivers have several issues that add to their degree of stress, such as difficulty with “letting go” of the person impacted by the disease; feelings of guilt when considering nursing home placement; or fear of seeming vulnerable and inadequate if outside assistance is sought.
Undeniably, these statistics outline a critical need for chronic and long-term caregiver respite care. And respite is needed more frequently than once or twice per year to be truly worthwhile. Family caregivers need to understand that support is not just helpful but essential, and they need to rest and engage in a life of their own. Committing a life exclusively to caregiving for someone can, in fact, result in great harm to both individuals’ lives. Family caregivers who allow themselves ongoing breaks from care feel rejuvenated and better able to provide the best level of care. And those who do not are at risk for caregiver burnout.
Call in some caregiving reinforcements if you recognize the warning signs of burnout, such as:
- Excessive stress and tension
- Incapacitating depression
- Relentless anxiety, guilt, or anger
- Reduced overall life satisfaction
- Relationship disputes and social isolation
- Lower immunity and increased need for health care services
- Excessive use of medicines, alcohol, or drugs
If any of these warning signs resonates with you, call Advanced Home Health Care at 800.791.7785 or 319.753.6270 in Burlington and 319.524.2144 in Keokuk. We’ll provide a complimentary in-home assessment for senior home health care in West Point, Iowa and throughout the surrounding areas in the counties of Des Moines, Lee, Henry, Louisa and Van Buren, and will create a personalized dementia support care plan for your loved one, allowing you a much-needed chance to rest and recharge. Compassionate, professional help is just a phone call away.