Many seniors rely on caretakers to assist them with daily living. These caretakers may be paid or unpaid, family or no relation. Regardless of the situation, many caretakers give so much time and energy to those in their care that they often neglect their own needs. This can lead to caretaker burnout, a feeling of listlessness and lack of motivation resulting in mistakes, neglect and danger.
Causes of Caretaker Burnout
Lack of Privacy: A senior who needs around-the-clock care may be harmful to himself or others if a caretaker does not stay close by. This can lead to a lack of privacy for the caretaker to tend to his or her own needs.
Unreasonable Demands and/or Unrealistic Expectations
A caretaker who continues to give and give without receiving any appreciation or support may become resentful. The demands may come from the senior (who may or may not understand the impact of the demands) or from other family members (who may simply not understand the difficulty involved). This sets unrealistic expectations and the caretaker will often feel that the services provided are not measuring up.
Caretaker burnout may result in situations where there is not enough money to pay for the needs of the senior and/or adequately compensate the caretaker. Other resources such as comfortable living spaces, easy access to food and medication and other caretakers to substitute in and take over when needed can also quickly spiral into burnout.
Some warning signs that a caretaker may be experiencing burnout include inability to complete daily tasks, lack of concentration, irritability or frustration towards the senior and others.
1. Examine the caretaker’s schedule and make sure it is reasonable. Find replacement care when needed to give the caretaker necessary time off.
2. Consider delegating some of the tasks to other providers such as pharmacy and grocery delivery services, housekeeping and lawn services.
3. Ensure the caretaker properly takes care of his or her own health by eating nutritious meals, seeking healthcare services and finding time to exercise and socialize.
For more information on taking care of seniors and any questions about Elder Law, estate planning or long-term care planning, please contact Stouffer Legal at 443-470-3599 in the Greater Baltimore area.