Welcome to Part Two of our Q&A on Caregiver Burnout Q&A with Ethelia Hines, RN, MSN, Sunshine’s new Senior Living, Patient Care Systems and Change Management. In Part 1, Ethelia told us about the symptoms of Caregiver Burnout and how they are becoming more commonplace with more cases of dementia diagnosed every year.
SRL: Can the symptoms of Burnout be self-detected or does it take a family member, friend, co-worker or supervisor to recognize them?
EH: In my experience, identifying the syndrome in yourself is based on some key variables. What is the individual’s level of self-awareness, their emotional intelligence and knowledge of the disease process their loved one is experiencing. Most a . df Henry. Sometimes reading about the struggles of others breaks down the barriers one develops from guilt and the need to control their lives and that of their loved one.
SRL: What kinds of people are most susceptible to Caregiver Burnout?
EH: Anyone who is under a high degree of stress is a good candidate for Caregiver Burnout. The key is how each of us deals with the stress in our life and our willingness to reach out for help. Caregivers that do not deal with their burnout do not have to go through a crisis to make changes. Unfortunately, a crisis is too often the case. Sometimes it is both the caregiver and loved one who simultaneously experience a serious illness. Or it can be a son who loses his temper and becomes mean and disrespectful. These are situations which create the need for action.
SRL: Can it threaten your job or career?
EH: Untreated, absolutely! The issues at home can lead to performance issues at work. It is not uncommon to hear of people who quit their job to move closer to loved ones or who stop working so they can care for them.
SRL: How can it be treated and ultimately overcome?
EH: There are many resources for people who are experiencing Caregiver Burnout to get support if they are seeking help. There are books, professional support groups, family physicians, social workers, you name it. The first step of treatment is acknowledging the problem and then beginning to take little steps towards seeking resources that can support them in their quest.
SRL: What does your arrival at Sunshine say about their commitment to fighting Caregiver Burnout and maintaining a positive, uplifting work environment for all employees?
EH: They are a company dedicated and committed to ensuring they provide a safe, home-like alternative for the elderly and their beleaguered caregivers. Our residents are surrounded by people who passionately care for them and give them the dignity and love they deserve for their contributions in life. That’s one reason why I love coming to work every day.
If you know someone who is a caregiver and showing signs of burnout – whether they share their frustrations directly with you or not – encourage them to seek help and participate in a support group. Or better yet, talk to an Executive Director at Sunshine. The best thing you can do is start the ball rolling to get them out of their desperate world. Let’s keep the caregivers giving care, instead of being the ones who need it.
*This blog was first published here: Sunshine Retirement Living, May, 2018.