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A caregiver can be someone who works for another individual in a professional situation or it can be someone caring for a family member. People who require a caregiver may be older, may be suffering from a terminal illness or may have an illness from birth (such as cerebral palsy).
Caregiver burnout will happen if the caregiver does not take care of him or herself. In situations where the caregiver is a hired professional, burnout is possible, but usually happens later, rather than sooner, as the caregiver works shifts, then is able to go home and “unwind.”
Caregiver burnout for people taking care of a family member 24 hours a day, seven days a week can be high if the caregiver does not take time out for him or herself. Family caregivers tend to think that they are the only person who can properly care for the family member with health issues. If a caregiver does not get away from the situation, forgets to eat often and does not get enough sleep (often people with health issues cannot sleep through the night), the caregiver can burnout.
Burnout causes accidents, as the caregiver becomes tired and careless. Caregivers should enlist the help of other family members. The family members should work in shifts and should switch shifts often, so the same person is not getting up every night. A caregiver should also take some time for him or herself away from the entire situation. If the caregiver is the only person available, the caregiver should contact someone for help during the day or even during the night hours. Groups such as hospice provide caregiver assistance.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|