Caring for a loved one can be a rewarding experience, but it can also be incredibly stressful. When a caregiver experiences stress and burnout, the consequences can be serious. Symptoms of caregiver stress and burnout include withdrawal from friends and family, loss of interest in activities, feeling sad, irritable, hopeless, and helpless, and changes in appetite or weight. Caregiver exhaustion can have a detrimental effect on both the person receiving care and the caregiver.
A survey by the National Alliance for Caregiver Care and the AARP Public Policy Institute found that 40 percent of caregivers felt emotionally stressed, nearly 20 percent said it was causing them financial problems, and about 20 percent felt physically exhausted. A large study published in the Journals of Gerontology also found that caregivers who felt they were under a lot of pressure had worse health outcomes compared to caregivers who felt little or no effort. To prevent caregiver exhaustion, it is important to take regular breaks and seek assistance from friends, family, or temporary care providers. The Family Caregiver Alliance is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life of family caregivers and those receiving their care.
Caregiving can be an incredibly rewarding experience, but it is important to recognize the signs of stress and burnout before they become too severe. Taking regular breaks and seeking assistance from friends, family, or temporary care providers can help prevent caregiver exhaustion.