There are more than 43 million caregivers in the United States, can you believe that! A caregiver, by this definition, is a person who provides unpaid care to an adult or a child in need. Of that number, more than half (over 34 million!) have provided care to another adult over the age of 50.
These informal caregivers are different than people who provide care as part of their career (known as formal caregivers). Informal caregivers are spouses, family members, friends or neighbors who assist others with their activities of daily living who still live in their home rather than in a skilled nursing or assisted living community. They may even provide more serious medical care within the home.
Overwhelmingly, more informal caregivers are female (65%) and have an average age of nearly 70. Studies have shown that men provide more support in business-related tasks such as finances, arrangements and other less burdensome tasks. Women are much more likely to handle the more difficult tasks like bathing, dressing, toileting and providing medical services.
Caregiver burnout is a state of exhaustion that can be mental, physical and emotional. Taking care of another person is extremely challenging and can quickly wear out a person. Burnout can manifest is several different ways, and is completely different for each person and each situation.
One sign of burnout may include a change in attitude. You may begin to feel less positive and have negative emotions or even feel unconcerned about the person for whom you are caring. Fatigue, anxiety, depression and stress can all manifest and contribute to burnout.
As with any other stressful situations, a caregiver who is not taking time to care for themselves may also experience problems with sleeping, eating properly and see a decline in their own health. A loss of interest in their own hobbies and activities or withdrawing from family or friends can be signs of burnout.
A major contributor to caregiver burnout is guilt. Many people feel guilty if they take time to do something for themselves as they believe all their time and energy must be spent on their ill or elderly loved one. They cannot imagine spending a day doing something they enjoy because they feel too guilty about leaving their loved one at home without them.
Self-Care is Important
It is critical for caregivers to take time for themselves, to rest and recharge, so they are able to provide optimal care to the person who is depending on them.
Many skilled nursing facilities provide respite care. This allows you to admit your loved one to a facility for a few days while you take time to care for yourself. For some caregivers, this time is used to take a short vacation, or maybe just to have time to attend to their own personal matters and needs.
Seniors admitted to a skilled nursing facility for respite care will receive the same care and attention as other residents. They receive three meals a day and have the option to participate in activities and events. All medications are carefully logged and distributed as needed, so there is no interruption of service for your loved one.
Learn more about services available at The Villas Senior Care Community by visiting our website or calling us today at (217) 744-2299.