One of the hardest things you may ever do is to be the caregiver of an aging parent and one very real side effect of being a caregiver is burnout. Caregiver burnout can take you from a kind, positive and concerned child to a snappish, negative unconcerned child. But what causes caregiver burnout? What symptoms should you be looking for? And if you are suffering from burnout, what can you do?
Obviously, being a caregiver is hard work, but burnout is often caused by more than just the physical and emotional care you have to provide. Other factors can include:
Signs and Symptoms
Caregiver burnout can often manifest like signs of depression and are not to be ignored. Consider if any of the following describe you:
If you have any of these symptoms or thoughts of harming yourself or the person you are caring for, you may already be experiencing caregiver burnout.
Prevention and Reduction
In order to prevent burnout or to curb burnout once you start to feel it, there are several outlets you should consider for relief.
Being a caregiver is hard, emotional work and you can’t take proper care of your parent if you aren’t taking proper care of yourself. Be aware of caregiver burnout. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help.Learn More
When you are a child of an aging parent, you may start to feel like your roles are rapidly reversing; the person who once took care of you now needs your assistance. While you do not want to deny your parent this needed care, you may not know what you are getting into precisely. After all, caring for an aging adult is quite a bit different from raising children, for they have different needs and struggles.
However, if you know what to expect as your parent ages, you will be better prepared and equipped to help them through this time in their life comfortably and well taken care of. All you need are a few pointers for what to expect and look out for.
Vision Loss and Changes
As your parent ages, their vision and depth perception may begin to change and deteriorate rapidly. In fact, the elderly are the group most likely to suffer from eye disorders such as cataracts and glaucoma.
If you notice your parent stumbling, falling, or moving more slowly than usual as if they are trying hard not to bump into objects that may or may not be in their path, you should take them to the eye doctor for an eye exam.
Additionally, if you notice that their eyes begin to look milky or cloudy, this is a sign of a worsening cataract that should be looked at by an eye doctor. Luckily cataracts are easily treated through surgery. The recovery is swift and patients almost always regain a good amount of their visual acuity back following surgery.
So, when you are with your parent look for these and other signs of vision loss such as holding the newspaper abnormally close to their face, constant squinting, rubbing their eyes, or even complaints of frequent headaches. These are all signs of vision loss.
As people age, changes in hearing inevitably occur as well. It is a completely natural process. However, hearing loss can present a unique set of dangers that go along with it.
If you live in tornado country for example, your aging parent may not hear the tornado warning sirens if their hearing loss is profound and untreated. Additionally, they will be less aware of what is going on around them both at home and out and about which could be detrimental to their safety, not to mention could inhibit communication.
Signs of hearing loss are sometimes harder to notice until the hearing loss is profound. However, keep an eye out for certain signs. These include high volumes on radio or television, frequent miscommunications and misunderstandings (i.e. you ask them if they want to go to the store and they think you said someone is at the door), constantly needing information repeated, and a lack of reaction to loud or startling noises. These are all telltale signs of hearing loss.
Luckily, if this is the case, you just need to take your parent in to a clinic such as Hearing Clinic that can perform an audiological exam (hearing test) and can fit them with hearing aids. While your parent may be resistant to the idea of hearing aids at first, these devices could save their lives in the case of a natural disaster, fire, or attempted break-in at home. So, make sure you get them in for an appointment right away if you notice signs of hearing loss.
If you keep an eye out for these factors and changes as you care for your aging parent, you will be well on your way to helping them handle and endure this transitional time in their lives. You will be able to help keep them healthy and safe as you continue to provide them with needed assistance and care.Learn More