Avoiding Caregiver Burnout

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Caregiver from A-1 Home Care Agency with elderly patient

Not just anyone can be a Caregiver, only special individuals have the patience and caring nature that allows them to put other people’s needs in front of their own.  Unlike typical 9 to 5 jobs, Caregivers are never really off the clock and don’t get steady breaks during their work days.  Only someone who has provided care to a senior, elderly or ill relative or client can understand just how challenging and demanding being a Care Provider is.

As a Caregiver, you deal with senior and elderly people who are not at their best.  They are usually ill, in pain, frustrated and feeling vulnerable.  The unfortunate part of being a Caregiver is that you are a handy target when they need to vent their anger and discomfort.  Having the person you’re caring for become verbally abusive is an upsetting experience and can lead to Caregiver Burnout.

The best way to avoid Caregiver Burnout is to remember several things:

  1. Don’t take it personally
    • If your patient becomes verbally abusive, curses or insults you, don’t take it personally.  Try to figure out what is making them so angry.  Are they in pain? Afraid? Has something stressed them out?  If you can understand the cause, you can fix it.  If they’re hurting or uncomfortable, repositioning, massaging or administering pain medication may be the solution.  If they are afraid or stressed, try to soothe or distract them from the source of their anxiety.

    2.  Don’t argue

  • Arguing or yelling at your client will not resolve anything and will most likely get you fired.

3.  Take a moment and breathe

  • Sometimes you need to take a moment and let everyone calm down.  Step into another room for a moment, take a breath and let the emotions settle.  When you feel calmer, go back to the patient and try again.  Remember, you are the professional CARE GIVER.  Your job is to make the patient’s life easier, not more stressful.

4.  Talk to the patient’s doctor

  • If you’re noticing a change in behavior, increased aggression or mood swings, there can be a medical reason.  These can be signs of Alzheimer’s or dementia or could be caused by medications.

5.  Take care of yourself

  • Taking care of yourself is one of the best gifts you can give to your patient.  By getting enough rest, enjoying time with your family and friends and recharging you’ll have the energy and patience needed to continue caring for your client.  It’s important to eat right, stay physically fit and remember to find joy in life.  How can you help the client stay healthy and well if you’re not in good shape yourself?

6.  You can’t control everything

  • You’re not superhuman and can’t control or fix everything.  Trying to be all-knowing and perfect is a horrible burden to place on yourself and won’t benefit your client.  Be warm, humble, cheerful, professional and caring.  Be willing to forgive and forget instead of holding grudges for bad days.

7.  Join a support group

  • The only people who will really understand what a Caregiver deals with on the job are other caregivers.  Join a caregiver support group and build healthy connections so you have a safe place to vent and get constructive advice for those difficult moments.

A-1 Home Care Agency has provided in home care services to Los Angeles County, San Fernando Valley, Orange County and the South Bay area since 1991.  With over 20 years’ experience in the home care industry, we place caregivers into steady jobs throughout Southern California.

Call 562-929-8400 for employment opportunities today!

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