Caring for an older adult can be rewarding and meaningful. It’s a great mitzvah and a privilege. It can also be demanding, difficult, and tense. Extended caregiving can take a toll and sometimes leads to unacceptable behavior; sometimes a caregiver might become neglectful or abusive, and at times, not even realize it.
To avoid caregiver burnout, experts recommend the following tips:
- Make sure you have time to rest and take care of your needs. Ask a family member or friend to help for a weekend, or even for a few hours. Having time to take care of yourself will help you remain healthy and have patience and energy for caregiving.
- Local synagogues, schools, and other communal organizations may have volunteers who can visit and help on a regular basis. Respite care provides an essential break.
- Local caregiver support groups or online forums can provide good tips as well as a healthy outlet to share experiences.
- Speaking with a mental healthcare professional to help you explore your feelings.
- As always, exercise and healthy eating habits can help reduce stress and protect your emotional well-being.
Remember, you are not alone! Friends, family members, rabbis, and others want to help you. For more resources on caregiver stress, see here.