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4 Life-Giving Resources for Caregivers Who Are on The Edge of Burnout

  • Jennifer Waddle
4 Life-Giving Resources for Caregivers Who Are on The Edge of Burnout

“Caregiving often calls us to lean into love we didn’t know possible.” —Tia Walker, author of The Inspired Caregiver: Finding Joy While Caring for Those You Love

It used to be that multi-generational families lived together—young and old—with plenty of physical, emotional, and spiritual support for one another. The older generation worked hard to take good care of their families, until they were physically unable, and then the roles were reversed as the younger generation stepped up to the plate.

Today, families are scattered, each to their own separate careers, schedules, and corners of the world. This is the norm for our culture, yet it poses a real problem when a loved one becomes unable to care for themselves. In fact, it can really shake up a person’s life, when they are suddenly called to the caregiving role, leaving them feeling helpless and overwhelmed. Caregiving could even be described as one of the most stress-producing seasons of life.

That’s why it is crucial that we recognize those who have taken on the role of caregiver—often without choice—and offer as much help as we can. If you are a caregiver, or know of someone who is, here are a few life-giving resources to help you on your journey and hopefully help you avoid burnout.

Photo Credit: Unsplash/Candice Picard

1. Trusted Day or Night Care

1. Trusted Day or Night Care

If only for a few hours per week, you can get a much-needed break knowing that your loved one is cared for. While the options vary from state to state, most offer partial care, which may even include meals and activities.

The struggle for most caregivers, is the worry that their loved one won’t want to go to a Day Care Center or receive nighttime assistance. Perhaps, their family member will even begin to display unfavorable behavior and resistance. In this case, it would be a good idea to visit the facility together, at least for the first few times, until your loved one is somewhat acclimated.

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Other Options:

Other Options:

Another option is to connect with a senior group in your church, or a church in your community, and ask if they would be interested in spending time with your loved one, even for a few hours each week. Perhaps, they would even be willing to come to your house, giving you the freedom to get out for a while. This may work especially well if you are caring for an elderly person, as they may see it less as “babysitting” and more as quality time with friends.

One final idea is to enlist a college student would love to have a part-time job of sitting with your loved one. This can be a way to not only relieve your stress, but to also help out a struggling student who needs a little extra spending money.

Here is more information regarding adult day care and where to find a program in your area. Also, check out this site to learn more about overnight care for your loved one.

Photo Credit: Unsplash/Vlad Sargu

2. Christian Counseling or Mentorship

2. Christian Counseling or Mentorship

Caregivers are usually the last ones to reach out for emotional and spiritual support. But your overall wellbeing is of utmost importance. For without it, you will not be able to take care of anyone, especially yourself, which will most likely lead to burnout.

Find a trusted counselor or mentor to talk to on a regular basis. Allow yourself to admit the things you don’t like about the caregiving process. Give yourself permission to dump all of your frustrations out, knowing that the other person is there to listen, pray, and guide.

Regular, scheduled times with a trusted counselor may very well be a life-giving outlet for caregivers who feel like they are carrying the weight of the world on their shoulders. Being able to vent to someone can lift some of the burden and make a world of difference.

Photo Credit: Unsplash/Maranatha Pizarras

3. Support Groups and Other Caregiver Connections

3. Support Groups and Other Caregiver Connections

Banding together, with other caregivers in your area, can be a wonderful way to feel supported on the journey. Getting together on a regular basis, to help one another navigate the difficult parts of caregiving, to offer each other a break, and to simply connect, will help ease feelings of burnout.

There is something to be said for being “in it together.” Connecting with others, who are on a similar journey, will be a welcome relief. Find other like-minded people who are also seeking camaraderie and support during this difficult time.

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If You Can't Find a Group:

If You Can't Find a Group:

If you have trouble finding an established support group, consider starting your own. Enlist the help of church members, neighbors, and friends, to get the word out. Organize a few meetings just to get to know one another. Consider using a facility that is handicap-friendly to make other caregivers feel comfortable in bringing their loved ones along.

Just knowing there are others in the same boat as you can help tremendously. Resist the urge to isolate yourself and “go it alone.” You need the support of others and they need you.

Read more about support groups from the Family Caregiver Alliance, the National Center on Caregiving.

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4. Personal Bible Devotions and Journaling

4. Personal Bible Devotions and Journaling

Deep in the heart of the caregiver, lies an abundance of feelings and emotions that are often left simmering just below the surface. Feelings of frustration, anger, resentment and burnout can easily overwhelm the weary soul. By carving out time to have personal Bible devotions, especially geared towards your situation, you can avoid the road to spiritual burnout. Personal time, set-aside for the Lord, can make all the difference in the world.

Photo Credit: Unsplash/Timothy Eberly

If You're Not a Journaler:

If You're Not a Journaler:

If you aren’t in the practice of journaling, now might be a good time to start. Sometimes, just writing things down and getting them out of your head can be extremely therapeutical. Allow yourself to write unhindered—your concerns, your hurts, and your feelings of overwhelm. Then, use your journaling as a list of prayer requests to offer every single burden to the Lord. After all, He knows your heart already. He invites you to pour out your burdens to Him.

"Trust in Him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us." (Psalm 62:8 ESV)

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Extra Resources For The Journey:

Extra Resources For The Journey:

Bible Devotions (written especially for caregivers):

Articles:

At the end of the day, nothing can prepare you for the insurmountable challenges you will face as a caregiver. Truly, this role in life is not for the faint of heart. But be encouraged today and reach out for the help you need, whether it be in the form of counseling, day care, support groups, or Bible study. Your health and wellbeing are just as important as that of your loved one. And most importantly, remember that God is with you. He will go before you, remain with you, and follow behind you. His love has hedged you in, and you are never alone.

"You have hedged me behind and before, and laid Your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain it." (Psalm 139:5-6 NKJV)

Jennifer Waddle is best known for encouraging Christian women in faith and life. She is the author of several books, including Prayer Worrier: Turning Every Worry into Powerful Prayer, and is a contributor for WomensMinistryTools.com, Crosswalk.com  and abide.is. She resides with her family near the foothills of the Rocky Mountains—her favorite place on earth. You can find free resources at EncouragementMama.com or find her books here. Jennifer is also available, via email, at jennifer@encouragementmama.com. She reads every single email that lands in her inbox, and would be honored to pray for your requests.

Photo Credit: Unsplash/Chris Arock