Here is a tip for preventing caregiver burnout! One of the most important reasons for a family meeting and a caregiver plan is to make sure none of the caregivers suffers from burnout. It takes planning and cooperation to make sure that everyone—not just the aging or ill loved one—doesn’t get overwhelmed, resentful, and completely fried. Here are some ways to prevent caregiver burnout.
Sometimes we put off conversations with our loved ones, thinking there will be time. However, the time never comes and we lose the opportunity. Do you have conversations you are putting off? Start today.
Amy Craton put her education on hold for 50 years in order to raise her four children as a single mother. Once the responsibilities of life were fulfilled, she “decided to finally finish her education because the timing was right – and she disliked the idea of being idle during her golden years.” This is an inspiring example of a woman completing a life-long dream of completing her education. Once completed, she set her sights on graduate school.
Healthy aging includes examination of our lives: where have we been, what have we learned and what do we still want to do? Active seniors who remain healthy into their advanced years have continued to find purpose, to set goals and complete things they can be proud of.
Ask yourself the question, “If I were to die today, what would I leave behind? Have I said what I wanted to say, done the things I wanted to do, finished the things I wanted to complete?”
What are the things in your life that you feel are incomplete or undone? Consider things you want to do, something you want to accomplish, places you want to go, and people you want to share something with. Consider those you have unresolved issues with or those with whom things have been left unsaid. Be specific. Give a timeframe for when you will complete these things on your list. If you do not plan to complete something, ask yourself what keeps you from doing so?
If 94-year-old Amy Craton can graduate college with a 4.0 GPA, you can accomplish or complete anything you have on your list.
When I was in my undergraduate program in college I was in pretty good shape. I cycled to and from school (about 20 miles RT) and was a runner at the time. I signed up for an aquatics fitness class thinking this would be a great addition to my exercise program, working on my upper body. The first day of class the instructor said, “We are going to swim a mile!” I asked when and he said “Right now.” I learned a big lesson about exercise that day. I used muscles that I had not developed. I went home and could not raise my arms. I was so sore for days that I never returned to that class. The instructor’s intentions were honorable and his method would probably work really well in boot camp, where they are trying to break you down and build you up. As far as an introductory, beginning aquatic fitness class, his method was poor. It was years later that I decided to incorporate swimming into my exercise routine.
When adult caregivers face the end of life for someone they love deeply, there may be little chance to resolve their feelings—unless they’re aware and have a deep desire to “clean house.” Such housekeeping can make a world of difference in the peace with which the loved one passes. Here’s a personal story that illustrates the healing that is possible when we can be honest and clear in our desire to resolve our past.
One of the most important reasons for a family meeting and a caregiver plan is to make sure none of the caregivers suffers from burnout. It takes planning and cooperation to make sure that everyone—not just the aging or ill loved one—doesn’t get overwhelmed, resentful, and completely fried. Here are some ways to prevent caregiver burnout.
I am asked many times by my clients about ways they might be able to care for their aging parents or an ill loved one. It is simple. Ask your loved one how best you can support them. There is no universal answer. Although there are specific things you can do to arrange for or personally assist them in their daily body care, the way in which they will accept that care is very individual. Many times their ability to accept assistance is a reflection of early childhood patterns and beliefs, combined with the specific relationships they have formed throughout their lives. There are also cultural beliefs that impact how a person will accept support as they become more vulnerable. All of these factors must be taken into account when caring for a loved one.