8 Signs of Caregiver Burnout and What You Can Do About It

Sleepy young women with pillow and sleeping eye mask still on.If you’re a family caregiver, maybe you have light duty, like taking Mom to the doctor every few months, or checking in with Dad a couple of times a week by phone.

On the other end of the spectrum, you may be right in the trenches caring for a loved one with complex needs. You’re on call 24/7 with no relief in sight.

For those doing the heavy lifting – literally and figuratively – caregiver burnout can settle in like morning fog that won’t go away. And the real problem is, you’re so close to the situation, you may not even recognize the symptoms, much less know how to help yourself.

Here are some questions to consider:

  1. Have you withdrawn from friends, family and other loved ones?
  2. Have you stopped participating in activities you used to enjoy?
  3. Have you stopped exercising because you don’t have time?
  4. Are you feeling hopeless, irritable or resentful?
  5. Are you eating too little, or too much?
  6. Are you sleeping too little, or too much?
  7. Are you getting sick more often?
  8. Are you tired all the time – physically or emotionally?

Put Your Own Oxygen Mask on First

If you answered yes to some or all of these questions, it’s time to start taking care of yourself. If you don’t, you may not be able to take as good care of your loved one as you know they need and deserve.

When we fly with children, we are instructed to “put your own oxygen mask on first before putting your child’s on.”

Sound selfish or unloving? It’s not.

If you pass out, you won’t be able to help your child or yourself. It’s the same with caregiving. Take care of YOU first.

Take Advantage of Help That Is Available

So what are some ways you can start taking care for yourself?

One way is to give yourself a break. Respite, adult day care and home care services are available to give you some much-needed time to manage your own life, and recharge your batteries.

Another way is to join a support group and meet with other families that are experiencing similar challenges, and learn how they are coping. There are caregiver support groups throughout the state.

Here are some programs in Connecticut that help family caregivers:

  1. Respite care: Family caregivers are providing valuable services that enable their loved ones to remain in the community. To help families, Connecticut’s Statewide Respite Program offers respite services through several agencies.
  1. Adult Day Care: Here is a list of adult day care centers in Connecticut, listed alphabetically by town.
  1. Connecticut Home Care Program for Elders: This program provides a wide range of services designed to help your loved one remain in the community and stay out of a nursing home for as long as possible.
  1. Support Groups: One of the biggest problems with caregiving is a sense of isolation that can lead to burnout. The best way to counteract those feelings is to connect with others. Here is a list of caregiver support groups throughout Connecticut

Don’t get stuck in the trap of isolation and despair. If you are experiencing burnout, or if you’re moving in that direction, we strongly urge you to reach out and connect with some of the services that are available to you. By helping yourself stay strong, you will be better able to help your loved one.

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Respite Programs





Adult Day Care



CT Home Care Program



Caregiver Support Groups in CT




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