Being the primary caregiver for an aging loved one, while a very rewarding and fulfilling role, can leave you exhausted and stressed out. If you find yourself thinking or noticing any of the following signs, it may be an idication it is time to step aside and get a little rest and relaxation for yourself:
- I just don't feel like talking to or seeing anyone today—even my friends and family. If you discover that you consistently don't want to interact with people, especially close family and friends, it could be a sign that caring for your elderly loved one is becoming too draining.
- I used to really enjoy reading mystery novels, but for some reason, even a thrilling ‘Whodunit' doesn't seem to hold my interest anymore. If your favorite hobbies and pastimes aren't interesting to you anymore, it may indicate that you need a break from being a caregiver.
- Sometimes taking care of mom is too much—I feel like I want to end it all.Thoughts of suicide or hurting your elderly loved one are dangerous warning signs of extreme burnout and probable depression. You should immediately seek help from a mental health professional if you find yourself having violent thoughts.
- I've been eating weirdly lately. Abnormal eating patterns, whether it's eating too much or not enough might be an indication of extreme stress.
- I've been sleeping weirdly lately. If you can't seem to fall asleep at night, or have trouble getting out of bed in the morning, you may be feeling the effects of too much caregiving responsibility.
- It's been several weeks and I can't seem to shake this cold. Stress can wreak havoc with your immune system. Illnesses that last longer than they should are a sign of reduced immune system functioning that could be due to your caregiving duties.