Alzheimers caregiver burnout can happen to anyone who is a primary caregiver for someone with Alzheimer's Disease. When a caregiver becomes physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausted the result is caregiver burnout. Many caregivers, especially spouses, try to do everything themselves for their loved one. In the beginning that may work, but as the disease progresses the caregiver needs help.
As the stress of being a full time caregiver grows, you begin to lose interest and motivation.
Often the caregiver becomes sleep-deprived because the person with Alzheimer's Disease is not sleeping and they are afraid to go to sleep. They worry all of the time. The caregiver is afraid to leave them alone or with someone else. Many times they just don't want to bother anyone else. A spouse may feel it is their responsibility and the burden is theirs alone.
Caregiver burnout is a very serious issue. The symptoms of caregiver burnout are similar to those of stress and depression.Caregiver burnout is the number one reason why people with Alzheimers Disease are placed in nursing homes. Learn how to recognize it and prevent it from happening in your family.
Loss of interest in activities
Withdrawing from friends & family
Neglecting your own needs
Neglecting the person you are caring for
Increased frustration towards the person you are caring for
Change in appetite
Change in sleep patterns
Excessive use of alcohol
Losing control physically or emotionally
Feeling caregiving has taken over your life
People with caregiver burnout also get sick more often.
If you suspect you or someone you know has caregiver burnout, you need to take action!
Ask for help!
No one can do it alone!
Take time out for yourself
Ask friends and family for help
Have someone you trust come sit with your loved one for a few hours every week and get out of the house for awhile
Keep in contact with friends
Continue to do activities you enjoy
Don't keep your feelings bundled up inside
Have someone you can talk to
Find a support group- it helps to talk to someone who has been an Alzheimers caregiver
Listen to happy music
Find some time each day for yourself, get up a half an hour early
Start a journal, many people have found this helps
Do you need help keeping track of appointments, medicines, vital signs, weights, meals, bowels, and behaviors?
Do you know what stage of Alzheimer's Disease your loved one is in?
Do you know what to watch for next?
Do you have sitters coming in and need to have a better system to help them provide the best care?
Does your loved one have behaviors that you should be tracking?
Do you have all of the information written down you need when you go to your doctor visits to help them understand what needs you may have?
The Caregivers Notebook will help you organize and document the care needed in your home and provide clear direction to those who help you care for your loved one.
For updates on Alzheimer's news and caregiver tips, please sign up for my Alzheimer's in your home newsletter