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Inspiration for Overcoming Caregiver Burnout

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November 3, 2015

If you feel emotionally burned out from caregiving, you’re certainly not alone. Members of our Caregiver Stress online community recently shared their feelings of depression, isolation and being taken advantage of by other family members.

Beneath the surface of the expressed burnout, however, a few beacons of hope shone through. Many readers related a need to “take a step back” and renew their sense of perspective in order to get back in touch with the many rewards of caring for a senior family member.

If you feel a similar need to take a step back, consider these thoughts from family caregivers and other inspirational voices for renewed strength throughout your journey.

“Be a rainbow in someone else’s cloud.” – Maya Angelou

If you feel others in your life don’t appreciate what you’re doing as a caregiver, focus on recognizing the contributions of other caregivers you know. Sending your appreciation to another can feel as rewarding as receiving the good wishes yourself. If you don’t know any other caregivers in real life, participate in communities like Caregiver Stress.

“I have Alzheimer’s disease. It's a frightening and frustrating experience. Frustrating because I know well, what I am doing to those around me and frightening because, I also know well, where I'm going. It is with huge sense of guilt that I make my loved ones suffer, in caring for me. Please forgive me. I am not doing this on purpose and I know that you did not sign up for this job. You certainly won no good lottery. I'm sorry, I'm truly sorry!” – Dick O., commenting at CaregiverStress.com.

Find strength in knowing your senior loved ones with Alzheimer’s or a related dementia appreciate what you do, even if they can’t communicate it. Every day you alleviate their fear as they take a very scary journey.

“Let us be silent that we may hear the whisper of God.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

The caregiving life can be filled with noise and chaos. When you grab even five minutes of quiet, you can tune in to those soul whispers that remind you of all the good you are doing as a family caregiver.

"Measure yourself by the teaspoon, not the scoop shovel, and you might find more of yourself that you didn't even know you had lost till you look close and treasure the small things. ... If you're feeling lost, do not try to find your (old) self; lean forward to be the best new self you can become." – Mark, Remember for Alzheimer's Facebook community

Don’t expect or require perfection from yourself as a caregiver. Look to the small victories and happy moments hiding in each day, and watch a new, beautiful you emerge.

“Every time you find some humor in a difficult situation, you win.” – Peanuts

Go ahead, laugh. Find the absurdity of the situation. It’s good for your soul.

“We all need help one time or other... Pray for the Lord's Spirit to be with the caregiver and the person who needs healing strength” – Aileen H., Caregiver Stress Facebook community

Don’t neglect your spirituality as a caregiver. Spiritual rituals can renew and strengthen your sense of purpose.

“If you love a family member with Alzheimer’s, the love doesn't change, the coping is what changes. You love them the same as before! - Patricia W.D., Remember for Alzheimer’s Facebook community

It can be easy to lose sight of why you took on the role of family caregiver to begin with: love. Take a moment today to get back in touch with that love you still hold for your senior family member who needs you.

What words of encouragement and inspiration would you share with a fellow caregiver? Leave a comment below!

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Thoughts and stories from others
  1. November 11, 2015 at 12:50 pm | Posted by Joyce Harrington

    My 95 year old father lives with me and is in a wheelchair and has dementia. He handles basic functions and I do have assistance during the day. Being tied down (like with a small child) is what I find most difficult. He is such a kind and loving man and so deserves the most loving environment and care. It won't be forever and I am so glad I am able to do this.

    Reply

  2. November 10, 2015 at 9:11 pm | Posted by Dale Johnson

    Thank You, Reading this really helped me feel better just knowing it's not just me. My Brother suffered a SCI/TBI and its been a real challenge but not my company has hired your company to help out. Sincerely, Dale E. Johnson

    Reply

  3. November 9, 2015 at 11:00 am | Posted by Sandra McLeab

    When I feel I don't have the strength to go through another day I : STOP! S-slow down and T-think O-once again to give GOD P-praise for ALWAYS being with me to handle each day. ***He will NEVER leave you alone! (I am caregiver for my mother who has dementia for over six years.)

    Reply

  4. November 7, 2015 at 3:17 pm | Posted by A. Payne

    My Mother died with Alzheimer disease...her tiny body kept going for 100 yrs and 8 days. I still miss our morning "coffee rituals". Now my husband is suffering with concussion induced dementia. The emotional stress is completely different from that with my parent. This is a sadness that is almost constant. We're fortunate to be able to continue our life in our own home since familiar environment helps with the feeling of displacement that many dementia patients suffer. I pray without ceasing.......

    Reply

  5. November 6, 2015 at 8:37 pm | Posted by Bruce Epstein

    A book that is very well written and has helped me greatly in being grateful for the positive moments of providing care for my mother and thoughtfully dealing with the demands we face is called "Daily Comforts for Caregivers" by Pat Samples. I would recommend this to anyone seeking comfort and reassurance that their efforts are of great value and appreciated as the author does a wonderful job of speaking from the perspective of one who has experienced the range of emotions and feelings that come with caring for a loved one.

    Reply

  6. November 6, 2015 at 7:54 pm | Posted by Cathy Murphy

    I want to give credit for this quote and I'm not certain that I remember correctly. It was from an article in a popular woman's magazine several years ago. I believe it was written by Amy Grant, but I'm not certain. The quote was from her friend who told her that she'd learned many things from her parents in her lifetime. This caregiver role that she was sometimes struggling with was perhaps the last great lesson she was to learn from her dad. I hope I have that correct. I thought it was beautiful and a lovely help to ones who give so much of themselves.

    Reply

  7. November 6, 2015 at 7:02 pm | Posted by Annamarie Porco

    I am a homecare employee!. I love what I do and embrace all the moments I can make a difference in someone's life. Yes, Dementia and Alzheimers is a tough one to deal with, but knowing there are lot's of available materials and classes and of course people who share their stories and give you background of the complexities of it all. All we can do is give our love and commitment and nonjudgmental presence to our seniors and the right care for every situation. Talk to other's that have been taking care and understand their dilemmas. We were meant to be in this all together. Great article, thank you for sharing this.

    Reply

  8. November 6, 2015 at 10:51 am | Posted by Carol Whitfield

    Read scripture in 1 Timothy 5....we are walking in obedience by caring for our family.

    Reply

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