Being a caregiver to an elder can be tough yet rewarding. At times, it can be fun and other times it can emotionally taxing. If you’re a member of the “sandwich generation,” caring for your child and an elderly relative, it can be easy to feel at times like you’re at the end of your rope.
Caregiver burnout is very real and something many of us deal with. The good news is that there are things you can do to ease the stress. It happens to all of us at times, and by following these tried and true tips below you can get through your caregiver burnout in no time at all.
Know When You Are Burnt Out: Only you know your limits! Have you have had a hard and emotionally draining week? Are you also dealing with some grief, kid stress, or work stress? Are you overtired and not sleeping enough?
No matter the cause of your burnout, step one is to acknowledge how you’re feeling. Each of us has our own personal caregiver experience and our own life challenges. Only you know when you have reached your limit. If you’re at that point, you are at that point. Acknowledge it, tell yourself you are human too, give yourself a pat on the back for all of your hard work this week, and make a plan to give yourself a break.
Tackle Your Burnout with Activities that Make You Happy: While you may want to crawl into bed and never come out, you shouldn’t. Make a list of all the things that make YOU happy. What do YOU need to feel more like you? If you have “take a nap” on your list, then go right on ahead and enjoy every minute of that nap. The key is getting out of bed after and moving on to something else that makes you feel good. Go see a movie, head out for a bike ride, read a book, visit a friend, go on a date, go shopping, go out for dessert, or do else something just for you. Also check out our post Quick Ways to Deal with Caregiver Stress.
Talk it Out: Talking about your caregiver burnout really does help. Do you know someone else caring for their elderly parents? Even a quick phone call to them to talk about it could help you feel better. Even if you don’t know another caregiver, a good friend can be a big help when you just need someone to listen.
If you need help, call a friend or relative and let them know how overwhelmed you are. Ask them to come over for a visit, or even to give you a break so you can do something from your happy list.
Another great option is to find a caregiver support group. They are out there, both online and in person. It can feel good to read stories and posts from others who deal with what you do. If you attend an in person meeting, you may actually make a new friend or two! These groups are also great for finding out about elder programs and activities in your area that can help relieve some of your caregiver stress.
Just Say No: No is such a powerful word that most of us try not to use it. Sometimes you do just have to tell people no. All you have to do is politely say no, and then be honest. “I wish I could, but I’m really rundown today from taking Grandma to her appointments. Maybe another time.” If they know that you are your elder’s caregiver or a member of the sandwich generation, they’ll understand. Know that you deserve you time, you deserve recovery time, and you should not feel guilty for trying to prevent or lessen burnout.
If you decide that you’re at the point that you need help caring for your loved one, make sure you know the tasks you will be asking a caregiver to complete. See our post Assess Your Elder’s Needs Before Hiring a Caregiver. Once you hire the perfect fit for your senior, avoid hefty fines and penalties by keeping things legal and up to date with the CRA. Don’t worry if you aren’t a math whiz and tax expert, as we are! We know everything there is to know about payroll tax, we can set up your CRA and WCB accounts, cover all your payroll, deductions, and tax filing needs, and ensure that you’re compliant with your provincial Employment Standards. As an added bonus, the first month of our services is free! Visit us at NannyTax to learn more!