Merck Manual

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Avoiding Caregiver Burnout

Avoiding Caregiver Burnout

Caregivers can help avoid burnout by doing the following:

  • Learning about the cause, symptoms, and long-term effects of the older person's condition

  • Anticipating changes in the older person and in the level of care the older person needs

  • Letting the older person make decisions and solve problems as much as possible

  • Knowing their own limits

  • Not taking the older person's anger, frustration, or difficult behaviors personally (these behaviors may be symptoms of a disorder such as dementia)

  • Avoiding arguments and learning how to redirect difficult conversations

  • Discussing responsibilities with other family members and friends, then asking them to help when appropriate and possible

  • Discussing feelings and experiences with a friend, someone who has had similar experiences, or people in a support group

  • Eating and exercising regularly and getting enough sleep

  • Scheduling regular time for relaxing, enjoyable activities

  • Obtaining information about the older person's financial resources

  • Avoiding depleting personal finances

  • Contacting organizations that can provide information and referrals for caregivers

  • Using day care or respite care to get a temporary break when needed

  • Hiring a home health aide or health care practitioner, such as a licensed practical nurse (LPN) or nurse's aide, to help if needed

  • Talking to a counselor, therapist, or clergyman if needed

  • Remembering that an assisted living facility or a nursing home may be the best option