Avoiding Caregiver Burnout
Ashley Jowett
/ Categories: WELLNESS, 2022

Avoiding Caregiver Burnout

Taking care of yourself while taking care of others

Caregiving for a loved one of any age and under any circumstance is often hard and loney work. In addition to the physical demands that caregiving may require, the emotional toll is very real. 

According to Aaron Brush, senior companion and caregiver coordinator at the Southwestern Vermont Council on Aging (SVCOA), "The most important thing caregivers can do to ensure they are able to care for their loved one is to take care of themselves. All too often, caregivers are so focused on the needs of others that they neglect their own health and mental well-being. Eventually, they get burned out."

Signs of caregiver burnout include: 

  • Physical and emotional fatigue
  • Increased stress and anxiety
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Feeling lonely or trapped
  • New or worsening health problems
  • Struggling to find joy in daily life

Caregivers need care, too. 
For many caregivers, the notion of taking a break from their responsibilities seems impossible. But the truth is there are numerous resources and organizations available to help make it happen. 

Brush says, "People are often surprised by the amount of resources available to caregivers. And all you have to do is call." 

Services provided by SVCOA include: 

  • Access to respite care, including grants to help cover associated costs
  • Access to senior companions to keep loved ones company or accompany them on errands, appointments, or to grab a coffee
  • Access to homemaking support to assist with household tasks, including laundry, taking out the garbage, cooking, and light housekeeping
  • Caregiver education classes and support programs
  • Brush notes they can also assist caregivers in connecting with other agencies that provide services beyond SVCOA's scope. 

Care for those who care for children
In recent years, more and more older adults and extended family members are filling the role of caregiver to young children and infants. While the demands of caring for children are different than those of caring for an aging adult, the risk of burnout is just as real.

"That's why we developed the Kin Care Group," says Linda Darlington, a family support worker with United Counseling Service in Bennington. "The group brings together individuals who have custody of children from within their family. In addition to sharing their experiences, the group directs them to resources to help them care for themselves as well as the child in their charge. It's important for care providers in this situation to know that others are facing the same challenges and that support is available." 

Help is here
Local resources for caregivers

VT: 
Southern Vermont Council on Aging
802-442-5436 | Helpline: 1-800-642-5119 | svcoa.org

InterAge Adult Day Program
Meet 2:30 - 3:30 p.m. the second Thursday of every month

Bennington Project Independence
Meet 1 - 3 p.m. the last Tuesday of each month

Kin Care Group
403-884-5589 | kincare@ucs.org
Meet via Zoom 6:30 - 8 p.m. the last Thursday of every month

MA:
Elder Services of Berkshire County
413-499-0524 | esbci.org
Meet at 1 p.m. the fouth Tuesday of every month at the Mary Spitzer Senior Center in North Adams

NY:
NY Connects
518-270-2730

 

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