If you are an adult with aging parents, you already know the new responsibilities that can fall on you as your parents get older. No matter if you find yourself coordinating doctor appointments on behalf of your loved one, picking up their medications from the pharmacy on your way home from work or providing hands-on assistance with household or personal care tasks, you are considered a family caregiver.
While the role of family caregiver can feel stressful and isolating at times, you are in fact not alone. The Family Caregiver Alliance reports that more than 34 million Americans provide some type of informal care to an aging loved one, and that those family caregivers are all at risk for health complications that come with caregiver burnout.
What is Caregiver Burnout?
Caregiver burnout, sometimes called compassion fatigue, is a term used to describe a phenomenon that happens when a caregiver is emotionally, physically and mentally exhausted. Caregiver burnout can happen to anyone in a caregiver role, though professional caregivers are less likely to experience it than family caregivers. This is, of course, because family caregivers often do not have the break from their caregiver role, which only accelerates the burnout symptoms.
The Family Caregiver Alliance notes that caregiver burnout can be caused by constant stress from caring for a loved one. The ramifications of burnout are serious and can lead to a variety of mental and physical health problems that include anxiety, depression, high blood pressure, sleep disruptions, malnutrition, obesity, decreased immune response, and more.
Caregiver burnout can also negatively affect the person being cared for. Caregivers who are stressed out and burned out are more likely to verbally or physically abuse their loved ones. Further, older adults who need assistance cannot get it from their family caregiver if that caregiver is ill themselves.
The Retirement Community Solution
The bad news is that caregiver burnout happens to nearly every family caregiver. The good news is that there are ways to prevent burnout and the medical issues that come with it. You might be surprised to learn that perhaps the solution lies in retirement community living.
Family caregivers often are responsible for multiple aspects of their loved one’s lives. They may cook for them, check in to ensure they are taking medications correctly, stop by to coax them out for a neighborhood stroll and drive them to appointments or social gatherings. All of those tasks, and more, are covered by team members at a retirement community which means family caregivers can receive the rest they need to stay healthy.
Retirement communities are designed to provide the support and resources that enhance quality of life, from meals served in the dining room to medication assistance from caregivers to social events planned by the team. Residents get all of the benefits from being supported and the family caregiver can stop focusing on caregiving and instead return to being an adult daughter or son.
Retirement community living can be the perfect solution for your loved one, and for yourself. At The Glen, our community offers multiple living options – independent living, assisted living, memory care and skilled nursing – all on one beautiful campus. We are experts in providing just the right amount of support to older adults so that they remain healthy and active.
Call us today to learn more about our services or to schedule your personalized tour.