The tasks of caring for an elderly loved one can add up quickly, leaving you exhausted and stressed out. Chances are, if you’ve been a caregiver for more than a few weeks you’ve experienced a certain degree of caregiver burnout.
Be on the lookout for these six common signs of burnout. If you find yourself thinking or saying these things, you may want to seek help from your doctor and consider finding some respite care.
6 Signs of Caregiver Burnout
- I just don’t feel like talking to or seeing anyone today—even my friends and family.
If you discover that you consistently don’t want to interact with people, especially close family and friends, it could be a sign that caring for your elderly loved one is becoming too draining.
- I used to really enjoy reading mystery novels, but for some reason, even a thrilling ‘Whodunit’ doesn’t seem to hold my interest anymore.
If your favorite hobbies and pastimes aren’t interesting to you anymore, it may indicate that you need a break from being a caregiver.
- Sometimes taking care of mom is too much—I feel like I want to end it all.
Thoughts of suicide or hurting your elderly loved one are dangerous warning signs of extreme burnout and probable depression. You should immediately seek help from a mental health professional if you find yourself having violent thoughts.
- I’ve been eating weirdly lately.
Abnormal eating patterns, whether it’s eating too much or not enough might be an indication of extreme stress.
- I’ve been sleeping weirdly lately.
If you can’t seem to fall asleep at night, or have trouble getting out of bed in the morning, you may be feeling the effects of too much caregiving responsibility.
- It’s been several weeks and I can’t seem to shake this cold.
Stress can wreak havoc with your immune system. Illnesses that last longer than they should are a sign of reduced immune system functioning that could be due to your caregiving duties.
Combatting caregiver burnout begins with self-care. After all, you and your care recipient will suffer if you’ve lost the interest or ability to provide quality care. Start by developing some self-care strategies, because caregivers need care too.
– Anne-Marie Botek