Recognizing Alzheimer’s Caregiver Burnout

AD-caregiver-burnoutEditor’s note: This is the first in a series on caregiver support – strategies for managing stress and how to locate and utilize your local resources.

The demands of caregiving for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease can be overwhelming, especially if you feel you have little control over the situation or you’re in over your head. If this stress is left untreated, it can take a toll on your health, relationships, and state of mind—eventually leading to burnout.

When you are experiencing burnout, it is difficult to do anything, let alone care for someone else.

Caregiver stress can be particularly damaging, since it is typically a chronic, long-term challenge. You may face years or even decades of caregiving responsibilities. It can be particularly discouraging when there’s no hope that your family member will get better. Without adequate help and support, you may become vulnerable to a wide range of physical and emotional problems, ranging from heart disease to depression. Learning to recognize the signs of caregiver stress and burnout is the first step to dealing with this problem:

Common signs and symptoms of caregiver stress include anxiety, depression, irritability and trouble concentrating. Feeling tired and run down, difficulty sleeping and overreacting to minor situations are other common symptoms. You may have new or worsening health problems, be neglecting your responsibilities or drinking, smoking or eating more than usual. If you are experiences any of these signs, you are likely suffering from “caregiver burnout”.

Next article: Tips on how to cope with caregiver stress.

Worried about the memory health of a loved one? Use the free Alzheimer’s-Dementia symptom checklist.

Contributing author: Glenner Memory Care Centers‘ mission is to provide quality adult day care and support services to families and others affected by Alzheimer’s and memory impairment diseases. We do this by providing quality adult day programs, family support, case management, crisis intervention, family and community education, advocacy and information and referrals.