Hitting the Wall of Burnout!

Most of us deal with our emotions on a daily basis. Some of them are good and some are bad. On a typical day, the good emotions may far outweigh the bad emotions.

Sometimes we suppress our emotions – has someone ever said something to you that “rubbed you the wrong way” and you just bit your tongue? This is an exercise in suppressing emotions.

For me at least, I’m glad (after the fact) that in those situations, I did “bite my tongue”. I’m glad that I didn’t say the thing that immediately popped to the surface. AND in situations where biting the tongue doesn’t work, I’m usually sorry after the fact that I actually said what popped out!

You may have seen an old cartoon with an angel sitting on a man’s right shoulder and a devil on his left shoulder. They are both whispering things into his ears and he has to pick which to say. In a typical day, this may happen a bunch of times.

Most of us are successful in picking the angelic things to say most of the time. In times of low stress this is easy to do. But in times of high stress, it becomes much harder.

Emotions and Stress Surrounding a Nursing Home Decision

The ole “stress o’meter” usually pegs out hard to the left when it comes time to make a nursing home decision for a loved one. If this is not the most stressful time of a person’s life – it’s certainly in the top ten!

This person may be your spouse or your Mom or Dad. You may have even promised them that you would never admit them to a Nursing Home! But things have changed and you are no longer able to provide the care they need at home. They now need 24 X 7 professional care.

We see some families fight this battle long and hard, even surpassing emotional thresholds. They may have worked for many months or even several years to keep their declining loved one at home. They may have even brought in outside caregivers to help extend the time the senior could stay at home. None of this has been easy! Whether you are personally providing or are one of the adult kids who is feverishly trying to help manage their care from a distance, you can experience a lot of stress!

Burnout: Eclipsing Emotions

The act of caregiving can take a toll on the physical and emotional health of the family caregiver. We encounter family caregivers on a weekly basis who are now struggling with health issues of their own which are now worse as a result of their caregiving efforts. Some have hit the wall of burnout and are struggling to deal with their emotions.

When a Nursing Home decision has to be made, many of these same caregivers feel guilty – almost like they have failed. But from my perspective, they should not feel this way at all! In most situations we see, these caregivers have done everything possible to keep their loved ones at home. Many have gone to super human efforts to make it happen – even sometimes at the expense of their own physical health, emotional health or financial “health”.

Rather than feeling guilty, these family caregivers should be awarded a gold and diamond studded “Super-Human Family Caregiver” award! But sometimes the hurt is still there.

I remember how I felt after admitting my Mom to a Nursing Home after she suffered a devastating stroke. She had to have 24 X 7 nursing care – but the facts didn’t make the decision any easier!

If you are struggling…

If you are still struggling with these emotions, please seek the help of a professional mental health counselor. These are tough issues which can’t just be swept under a rug. Continuing to just “tough it out” when you need help is the equivalent of biting your tongue for a long time – eventually it will start to bleed! Biting your tongue may help to keep you from responding to someone’s snarky comment. But after a long hard emotional struggle, more powerful professional help may be needed.

We are NOT mental health professionals. Yet as attorneys who work with the adult kids having to make these tough decisions, we see individuals struggle with these issues on a regular basis. If you are struggling with issues surrounding caring for a loved one at home OR having made a nursing home decision OR dealing with the recent loss of a loved one, please seek the assistance of a mental health professional in your area.

We wish you the best as you work to help your declining parent. Whether you are helping from across the street or from across the country, your efforts can make a huge difference in their quality of life.

We want to be friends!

Ok. That might come off a little fast, considering we barely know each other. However, we fully understand the stress and turmoil that you are facing as Family Caregiver – including personal experiences with burnout.

In our time as caregivers, we have amassed a wealth of knowledge that we desire to pass on. We understand the emotions involved while making necessary decisions. Likewise, we have met many professional caregivers, as well as other family members who were thrust as Family Caregiver. All caregivers have shared the same advice – Join a community! There is nothing more cleansing for our situation than knowing that we are not alone!

We have since created Caregiver Connection. Caregiver Connection is a newsletter that we write personally and send to fellow Caregivers. It is full of tips, tricks, direction and even professional advice. If you would like to sign up, click the button below.

Please Invite Someone to Our Newsletter

Being an Adult Kid who is helping mom as she is declining can be a scary, frustrating and lonely place lacking stability. You feel like you are solely responsible for solving Mom’s problems while managing yours. Some occasional input and a community to plug into would help, especially when facing burnout! This is a way that all of us can be working together as caregivers!

Many others that you may personally know are having to figure it all out by themselves. Most of them have no community. Please take a minute and do them a favor. Copy this link – help.mom/cc – and send it to them in an email or private message. They can click on it and subscribe to our newsletter for free.

Then they can enjoy weekly tips and encouragement. They no longer have to feel so alone in their family caregiver journey. They will appreciate the favor! Thank you for thinking of them!

Thank You for being a Caregiver for Your Loved One – you are making a huge difference in their life!

About the Author

Doug & his wife Cindy have not only helped hundreds of families with their estate planning and elder law needs over the years, but have personal experience as caregivers and advocates for their Loved Ones as well.

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