Caring for an aging or ill loved one is a task that many adults find themselves doing. In many cases, they take on the role happily even though the caregivers find themselves “sandwiched” between caring for aging parents, pursuing their careers and caring for their own families. Caregivers in this situation face burnout because they’re burning the candle at both ends and may not know how to cope. We share information on how respite prevents caregiver burnout: 5 tips that we know will be helpful.

At American House Senior Living Communities in Michigan, we understand what caregivers face. Many of our communities now offer respite apartments to alleviate caregiver burnout. Another benefit of our respite apartments is that your aging loved one will have access to meals, planned outings, on-site activities and the ability to make new friends. Respite at one of our American House locations gives the caregiver peace of mind and also gives them time to refresh and recharge their batteries.

How Respite Prevents Caregiver Burnout: 5 Tips

If you’re new to caregiving, you may not be aware of the stats from a study conducted by AARP. As this information shows, you are not alone in the role of caregiving.

Caregiving stats from AARP

  1. The number of unpaid caregivers in the U.S. has reached more than 50 million adults who are unpaid caregivers to an adult over the age of 50.
  2. Respite care costs vary depending on the area of the country, facility amenities and level of services required. The costs can range from $100 to $250 per day.
  3. Older adults benefit from respite care because they could meet new people, try out a new living situation and get involved in activities.

Caring for an aging adult may be a wonderful gift you’re giving to a loved one. It can be difficult though, and that is even more prevalent if your loved one is suffering from dementia, illness or physical limitations. Also, in many cases, the caregiver is not a trained professional – they are a concerned loved one in a situation for which they may not be prepared.

There are resources for those thrust into the role of caregiver that can help, and your loved ones’ physician or medical team can certainly provide insight and assistance.

No matter how well-prepared you are or whether you stepped up and volunteered, being a caregiver can take a toll mentally and physically. This may be even more true if the caregiver is working or caring for their own children and their significant other. Caregivers need to find a way to balance care in addition to other roles and relationships in their lives. This is when respite is a blessing for the caregiver facing burnout who needs to take time to rest, recharge and reconnect.

Some of the causes of caregiver burnout include:

  1. Balancing the role of caregiver along with other family and work responsibilities.
  2. It taxes physical and emotional health.
  3. Lack of time for self-care.
  4. It can be difficult for the parent and child to separate the role of the caregiver as well as the role reversal that caregiving brings.
  5. Unreasonable demands may be placed on the primary caregiver by other family members who may not be as involved.
  6. Unrealistic expectations from the caregiver feeling that the loved one they’re taking care of will be grateful for the care. In some cases, being a caregiver seems like a thankless task, and the person for whom you’re caring may simply not appreciate all that you’re doing, and that can lead to burnout and guilt.

 How do you know if you’re suffering from caregiver burnout? Here are some signs:

  1. Anxiety
  2. Depression
  3. Frustration
  4. Overwhelming exhaustion
  5. Personal health problems
  6. Sleeplessness or insomnia
  7. Withdrawal from social activities because you’re so focused on caregiving

What’s a caregiver to do?

Reach out to an American House Senior Living Community in Michigan near you and ask about our respite facilities. We understand that caregivers need a break, and knowing that their loved one is in a safe, secure facility that provides companionship, delicious meals and social activities gives them peace of mind.

Steps to take to prevent caregiver burnout

  1. Research respite stays for your loved one.
  2. You’ll be asking for help. Whether you hire a professional in-home caregiver or ask friends or family for help, it’s important you don’t feel you have to do it alone.
  3. Look for local resources such as respite facilities or even adult daycare options.
  4. Join a support group. You’ll find out you’re not alone and listening to others who are going through what you’re going through is helpful. Elder support groups are ideal resources to help find solutions to caregiving issues.
  5. Take a deep breath. Sometimes, your loved ones simply won’t appreciate what you’re doing but remember they may be afraid of losing control of their lives and may be embarrassed that they can no longer fend for themselves.
  6. Make the most of the time with your loved one. Yes, you may need to feed, bathe, cook meals or run errands, but make time to just have a conversation. Play board games or card games, work on a puzzle together or get out and take a walk or a car ride. The memories you build will be ones that will comfort you when your loved one is no longer with you.

Remember, reaching out to an American House Senior Living Community and asking about respite stays for your loved one is not a selfish act. Giving yourself and your loved one a respite stay is a gift for all involved.  

American House was founded in 1979 to enrich the lives of seniors and their loved ones in an environment that fosters independence, compassion, quality services and meaningful relationships. We provide a wide range of senior living options, including independent living, independent living with assistance, memory care services provided by a third party, respite stays and hospice in Dearborn Heights, Farmington Hills, Rochester Hills, Sterling Heights and Westland.