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Avoiding Caregiver Burnout

By Phil Golden, Executive Director

The third Friday in February is dedicated to National Caregivers’ Day — and rightfully so! At Springwell, I have the pleasure of working with a fantastic group of caregivers each and every day, and it takes a special person to dedicate themselves to the care of others.

But in addition to those who do it as a career, many of you reading this are caregivers in your own families, and while it can be rewarding, it can also cause a lot of stress.

According to the American Psychological Association, caregivers are one of the three most-stressed groups of people in the U.S. (the other two are those with obesity and depression). Caregivers are more likely than the general public to have a chronic illness (82 percent versus 61 percent) and to rate their own health as “fair” or “poor” (34 percent versus 20 percent). And it is no surprise that the longer a caregiver is in the role, the more likely they are to have a decline in health.

If you’re used to putting others’ needs before your own, you’re at risk for a condition called “caregiver burnout,” a type of mental, physical and emotional exhaustion. Signs can include trouble sleeping, having issues with your spouse or at work, not finding pleasure in things you once enjoyed, and difficulty concentrating throughout the day.

So how can you avoid “caregiver burnout?” Caring.com offers some great tips here such as talking or going out with friends, taking a short vacation, finding a hobby, exercising, joining a support group and asking family and friends for help. If you start taking better care of yourself, you will be less stressed and better able to care for your loved one. And what better day to start than National Caregivers’ Day!