In this article I list several common experiences shared by family caregivers, the effects of prolonged caregiver stress, and how caregivers can access support. This article is written in list format to keep things brief and easy to digest. The focus of this article is on caregivers who are struggling in their role and need some guidance. I will likely write a separate article detailing the positive aspects of caregiving. Resources are both online for all and in person for residents of Denton County. Also a master licensed home care social worker, I can provide one on one support to family caregivers through psycho-education, short-term counseling, and connection to community resources. You are welcome to start a supportive conversation in the comments.
Family Caregiving Experiences Leading to Burnout
Difficulty adjusting to role as caregiver.
Anxiety about care recipient's declining health
Guilt related to feelings of anger about having to be responsible for loved one
Feelings of loneliness
Difficulty understanding dementia process
Exasperated dealing with loved one's behavioral changes
Disagreement between self and person being cared for
Family arguments about best type of care
Worried about how to pay for care
Resentment for needing to care for loved one at expense of doing other things
Not enough time or energy to care for self
Overwhelmed with amount of caregiving responsiblities
Examples of Family Caregiver Burnout
Fatigue is an early warning sign
Not getting enough to eat and sleeping too little
Symptoms of depression and anxiety
Poor physical health, bodily aches and pains
Becomes irritable with care recipient.
May become abusive or neglectful.
Can't find any joyful moments in caregiving
Copes by using drugs and alchohol
Apathetic and lacking empathy
Dwelling on other persons's suffering
Create self care plan. This has to happen first. Doing this alongside a social worker or therapist can help.
Schedule time every day to focus on your own needs. If it seems impossible start small with just 10 minutes before loved one wakes up and 10 minutes after he or she falls asleep.
Set reminders to take care of self.
Ask for help from family and friends
Hire caregivers or respite care
Join a support group
Seek educational opportunities to learn more about your loved one's disease and how to care for them
Write down the small and big wins for the day.
Work on changing thinking errors like discounting the positive and catastrophizing
Remind yourself that you are doing the best you can
Preventing Caregiver Burnout and Compassion Fatigue: DBSAlliance
Free Webinar Courses by Caregiver Expert Pamela D Wilson
Family Caregiver Alliance
Private Facebook Support Group for Family Caregivers
Dementia Caregiver Group
2nd Wednesday, 11:30 AM- 1:00 PM
Denton Senior Center
First Wednesday of every month from 10AM- 12PM at Trinity Presbyterain
Alzheimer's Support Group
Willow Bend Assisted Living Denton
Third Tuesday every month, 3:00PM-4:30PM
Select Rehabilitation Hospital
Support group for both patients and family caregivers
Second Thursday every month, 5:30PM- 7:00PM
See link for contact info to RSVP
This is not an extension list of support groups in the area. You are welcome to leave support group information in the comments section.