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The Difference Between Caregiver Stress and Burnout

Are you familiar with the Energizer Bunny? He’s a stately-looking pink bunny, with sunglasses and striped sandals, and the mascot of the Energizer battery. The slogan that accompanies him is that he “keeps going and going and going.” That’s a caregiver — always going, doing, and giving. In this article Albuquerque Home Care Assistance will share the signs of caregiver stress, and how they can lead to caregiver burnout and the key differences between the two.

What is Caregiver Stress?

Caregiver stress is a state of strain resulting from demanding circumstances. Fortunately, our bodies are made to handle stress. There are 3 main ways they do this:

  1. The hormone adrenaline is released, which increases breathing and heart rate and energy.
  2. Blood flows away from the extremities and towards the vital organs, legs, and back. This maximizes power.
  3. Digestion slows which makes energy available to the brain, vital organs, and major muscle groups.

What is Caregiver Burnout?

Ignoring the warning signs of stress can lead to burnout. This is when your “get up and go” has gone. Burnout can also be the result of role confusion as you become the parent. You may also have unrealistic expectations for yourself. Women are especially prone to this. You may feel that life is out of control and unmanageable. For many family members, this can occur when a senior loved one’s health starts to fail, leading one to think that the demands upon you are unreasonable. When these conditions snowball, the signs of burnout surface.

Comparing Stress & Burnout

Here’s a side-by-side comparison of stress versus burnout, that will show how to distinguish between them:

Stress: Evidenced by over-engagement
Burnout: Evidenced by disengagement

Stress: Spurs urgency and hyperactivity
Burnout: Spurs helplessness and hopelessness

Stress: Depletes energy
Burnout: Depletes motivation

Stress: Leads to anxiety
Burnout: Leads to depression

If you are experiencing any of the above feelings, know that help is available. Reach out to family members and friends and don’t forget about professional support services such as support groups and live-in and part-time hourly care in Albuquerque. These resources can help give you the break you need so that you can rest, recharge and return to your role with a refreshed attitude and renewed spirit.

Stress doesn’t have to get the best of you. Reach out to a friendly and knowledgeable Care Manager at Home Care Assistance of Albuquerque and schedule a complimentary, no-obligation consultation to learn more about our care services. Call 505-798-0800 today.