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How To Recognise Caregiver Burnout



People responsible for daily care of family or loved ones often continue working long after signs of physical and/or mental exhaustion appear, or until illness/injury incapacitates them. Burnout indicates the person’s mind and body needed to rest and recover much earlier.


Finding time to reflect upon current circumstances, or handing over responsibilities to someone else, can be confronting and difficult for primary caregivers. It is important for those surrounding a caregiver to recognise signs of burnout, too. 


This guide can be used by caregivers, or those who know one and would like to start the conversation of respite with them.


Luxe Care provides professional and personalised respite care, allowing for meaningful rest and recovery while your loved one is taken care of as per your instructions.


If you, or someone you know, has been experiencing the following for more than four weeks, caregiver respite should be considered:


Physical Signs:


  1. Exhaustion: Constant fatigue, even with sleep or rest.

  2. Sleep Problems: Difficulty falling asleep or “switching off” your mind despite exhaustion. Difficulties staying asleep through the night or feeling properly rested. Difficulty finding the energy or motivation to start the day.

  3. Frequent Illnesses: Frequently becoming sick due to a weakened immune system. Blood pressure and heart rate higher than usual.

  4. Changes in Appetite: Significant weight gain or weight loss. Not prioritising or not able to consume enough food each day. Relying on sugar, coffee, or alcohol.

  5. Headaches and Body Pain: Persistent headaches, back pain, or muscle aches. Chronic stress can cause and worsen physical pain and conditions. Injury or strain from unsafely lifting a loved one.


Emotional Signs:


  1. Irritability and Anger: Becoming easily frustrated or angry, sometimes over minor issues.

  2. Anxiety: Constant worry, stress, or feelings of dread.

  3. Depression: Feeling sad, hopeless, or helpless about life, or the ongoing care situation.

  4. Mood Swings: Rapid changes in mood, mindset, or emotional state.

  5. Feeling Overwhelmed: Feeling like you cannot cope or manage the care situation anymore.


Behavioural Signs:


  1. Withdrawing from Social Activities: No longer finding hobbies or socialising to be fun or “worth” doing, either due to exhaustion, time restraints, limited accessibility or being unable to leave loved one at home.

  2. Neglecting Responsibilities: Finding it hard to complete daily tasks or maintain household responsibilities.

  3. Reduced Quality of Care: Providing less attentive or compassionate care to the person being cared for.

  4. Substance Use: Increasing reliance on alcohol, drugs, or medication to cope.

  5. No Self Care: No designated space for yourself throughout the day. No downtime aside from sleep. Feeling undeserving of relaxation. Not prioritising rest if free time is found.


Cognitive Signs:


  1. Concentration Problems: Difficulty focusing, remembering, or paying attention to anything beyond caregiving tasks.

  2. Memory Issues: Forgetting important tasks or dates, mistaking medication dosages, experiencing brain fog, operating on “auto pilot”.

  3. Indecisiveness: Struggling to make decisions or feeling paralysed by choices.


Psychological Signs:


  1. Feelings of Isolation: Feeling alone, even if surrounded by people.

  2. Resentment: Feeling resentful or bitter toward the person being cared for, or the situation. Feeling as if you are no longer in control of your life.

  3. Guilt: Feeling guilty for feeling resentment or for wanting a break from caregiving duties.


Managing Caregiver Burnout:


  1. Seek Support: Talk to your friends, family, or join a support group for caregivers. Search online for caregiver communities, or other people’s stories and tips for alleviating burnout. You are not alone. There are mental health apps available for free download such as Insight Timer or Headspace. If you are in crisis and need to talk, call Lifeline on 13 11 14.

  2. Take Breaks: Find any moment in your day to sit down. If you cannot find a moment for yourself, this is a sign that you need assistance from others. Everyone needs breaks from daily work, and a chance to eat, rehydrate and shower.

  3. Accept Help: It can be easy to feel as though the care you provide cannot be delivered by anyone else. This puts immense pressure on you and does not allow you to access proper rest. Care does not have to be your sole responsibility. Luxe Care’s respite carers will follow your instructions meticulously and always remains in close contact with you and your family.

  4. Practice Self-Care: Try to prioritise eating three meals a day and staying hydrated (Men = 10 cups of water a day. Women = 8 cups of water a day). If you cannot stop for breaks, the energy from mindful eating and drinking water will reduce the chance of feeling sick or worn down. Water alleviates headaches. Try incorporating meditation into your wake up or wind down routine – meditation can be as simple as closing your eyes and allowing your thoughts to come to you without any action or reaction. Do not ignore persistent pains or concerning developments/decline in your overall health.

  5. Set Boundaries: If you are often asked to provide care for someone, ensure you can reasonably take on the task before saying yes. Try not to feel obligated to saying yes if you are already struggling to cope or have a typically busy schedule. It is always okay to say no or ask for help with caregiving tasks.

  6. Talk To Professionals: Seek mental health advice from healthcare professionals, therapists, or counsellors. Medicare can generally assist with covering mental health treatment related costs.

  7. Hire a Respite Carer: Luxe Care offers professional respite care staff for primary caregivers. We are here to help you.


Benefits of Luxe Care’s Caregiver Respite:


  1. Extended Rest: You will have the chance to get proper rest and beneficial sleep. You will feel properly refreshed and your body will have the chance to recover from any ailments or strains.

  2. Social Reconnection: You will be able to reconnect with friends and family again. You will be able to return phone calls and answer emails.

  3. Activities: You will be able to reengage with your favourite hobbies, regain a fitness routine, and attend social events.

  4. Peace of Mind: You can fully relax knowing your loved one is taken care of by friendly, caring professionals as instructed specifically by you.

  5. Relaxation: The down time will ease anxiety and allow you to reintroduce fun and spontaneity into your life.


Luxe Care provides dedicated, personalised assistance for primary caregivers.

Call us today on 1300 848 365

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