Perfectionism might seem like a good character trait for a caregiver, but it can actually lead to a lot of issues. Many family caregivers who try to keep everything perfect end up burning out. Burnout occurs when a caregiver is so emotionally and physically exhausted that he or she is no longer able to care for a senior loved one. Perfectionism can lead to caregiver burnout in these five ways.
1. Unrealistic Expectations
Perfectionists often feel they should be the perfect caregivers who make their loved ones well again. The reality is that it may be impossible to keep your loved one happy, comfortable, and in perfect health. Senior health can be tricky, and even the best possible caregiver may not be able to make his or her loved one physically and mentally healthy again. Having these sorts of unrealistic expectations about caregiving can eventually lead to burnout.
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2. Insufficient Rest
Perfectionists often sleep less, skip meals, or ignore their own needs because they’re so focused on completing certain tasks. Trying to do too many things at once can make a perfectionist caregiver feel overwhelmed and stressed out. Managing too many things for too long can cause burnout to happen faster. It’s a good idea to take a realistic look at your duties and either cut out unnecessary activities or find someone to help you with these tasks.
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3. Emotional Exhaustion
Many perfectionists get disproportionately upset when things don’t go as planned. Small things like being unable to make an appointment on time can ruin a perfectionist’s entire day, and feeling grumpy all day often makes a caregiver’s tasks even harder. This heightened frustration and irritability can build up into even more negative emotions and eventually cause a breakdown. People who experience severe irritability because of their perfectionism may benefit from meditation, therapy, or other ways to de-stress.
4. Lack of Respite
Perfectionists often overextend themselves so much that they end up never taking breaks from caregiving. Constantly thinking about caregiving is one of the primary reasons for caregiver burnout. Though perfectionists might feel guilty or frustrated whenever they’re not actively caregiving, it’s still wise to take breaks.
5. Low Self-Esteem
The high expectations perfectionists face often set them up for failure. Repeatedly not being able to be a perfect caregiver often ends up leading to low self-esteem. When caregivers lose confidence, it becomes easier for them to be overwhelmed. Try to remind yourself of all the ways you succeed each day, such as cooking a nutritious meal or making sure your loved one takes his or her medicine, instead of focusing on small failures.
By hiring professional caregivers, family members can reduce their risk of experiencing burnout. Although it may be challenging to find reliable, highly rated senior care, Prestige Home Care, families can turn to Prestige Home Care. Our respite and live-in caregivers are expertly trained to assist seniors with a wide array of important tasks, including cooking, bathing, light housekeeping, and exercise. If your loved one needs assistance with the challenges of aging, reach out to one of our knowledgeable, compassionate Care Managers today at 407-329-6613.