Caregivers perform a distinctive and necessary service for those that they care for. Most Americans are informal caregivers at some point during their lives, and an estimated 43.5 million adults in the US have provided unpaid care to an adult or child in the past year. Changes in healthcare mean that elderly populations are living longer; however, with increased prevalence of disease and illness which can be difficult to manage, in addition to overwhelming populations needing healthcare, care has become more home-based. Caregiving can also come with great financial strain, and nearly 3 in 5 family caregivers maintain paying jobs on top of caregiving to provide for their families.

When providing care for long periods of time, it can be easy to fall into a routine of neglecting personal care. Many caregivers feel guilty for spending time and resources on themselves rather than their loved ones. When caregivers don’t get the help that they need, burnout comes quickly.

Caregiver burnout is when you reach a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion.

Warning Signs of Caregiver Burnout:

– Withdrawing from or losing interest in things you used to enjoy
– Feeling tired or exhausted often
– Changes in eating patterns
– Feeling helpless or hopeless
– Lack of energy
– Depression or mood swings
– Frequent stomachaches, headaches, and other body problems
– Raised stress levels, blood pressure, or heart rate
– Being impatient, irritable, or argumentative

If you begin to feel any or all these symptoms, it’s important to take time for yourself.

Some steps you can take today are:

1. Set realistic goals. No one can do everything alone, and it’s important to recognize your own limitations.
2. Focus on what you can provide and accept help for the rest. Make a list of things that others can help you with, and delegate. Asking for help does not make you a bad caregiver. In fact, you are doing what’s best for you and your loved one by making sure you are both cared for.
3. Get connected. Finding caregiving resources in your community can help make your situation much more manageable. Support groups can help provide different perspective on difficult situations.
4. Connect with a professional care manager who understands the care needs of your aging or disabled loved one. The geriatric care manager can help you find an in-home care agency that provides a paid caregiver who can help with every day or complex tasks to relieve some of the burden of caregiving.

It may be difficult to imagine leaving your loved one in the care of someone else but taking a step back and accepting help can be extremely beneficial for both the caregiver and person receiving care. Rather than struggling on your own, take advantage of the resources available to you.

If you or someone in your family are facing aging challenges, please give us a call at (920) 740-8441 or email us at We’ll be happy to assist!