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Caregiver Burnout with Shawn Weiss

Shawn Weiss talks about why we’re seeing an increase in caregiver burnout, what the symptoms are, and how we can prevent it. Shawn has been the owner of a Home Health Care agency for 18 years and a physical therapist for 23 years.

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*The following is the output of transcribing from an audio recording. Although the transcription is largely accurate, in some cases it is incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors.

The following podcast is by Dr Shaun Weiss, president of Senior Health and Wellness Group, on the answers for elders radio network. And Welcome back everyone to answers for elders radio and we are here with Dr Shaun Weiss, who is a licensed physical therapist and founder and president of the Senior Health and wellness group at which is an educational consulting company that Helps Educate and helps families navigate through their later life care and I have known Dr Weiss for a very long time and I thrilled that you were here and we are spending this hour talking about various aspects of, you know, later life and what we’re dealing with right now. And we spent our first segment talking a lot about just summer safety, which I think is a big deal, and but this segment, Seawan, I’m so glad you’re back because we’re flipping over and talking about family caregivers and I don’t think we’re we could ever have too much content on this. I think it’s one of the most important topics we could ever address. I’m so glad that you’re here and welcome back to thank you. Thank you. I’m really excited to be here. Well, we’re excited. So tell us a little bit about through this pandemic and you know what’s going on. What’s happening with only caregivers these days. Oh my goodness, this in just like you said, this could not be a more important topic right now than it has been in the last year and a half. And we see it daily caregivers, you know, not just talking about caregivers in the medical community, because certainly our hospital workers, nurses, resident care AIDS, nursing, home assisted living, home health clinicians of certainly experienced burnout, but really the focus on families and family caregivers who maybe have had to start taking a new role and take care of mom or dad or grandma GRANDPA during this covid pandemic, and we really are seeing a lot of burnout, not just physical burnout, but emotional and mental exhaustion. Yeah, we’re seeing it all over and it’s such an important topic. It really is. People are maybe if I had to move a loved one into their home. People have taken on new roles in addition to their jobs and you know, maybe those demands are just over o their daunting, overwhelming to these caregivers. They might not have the knowledge or the background or the support system to take on these roles and you know just the pressure of wanting to take good care and promote good health and happiness on their loved one. So it’s just if you can imagine the pressure and the pressure that has been on these caregivers during this panda and it’s just been amazing. Well, and I think you know, I can relate to everything that you say because, as you know, I took care of my mother for the last six years of her life and the expectations that I put on myself were very unrealistic. I see it, you know, hindsights always two thousand and twenty, but when you’re in the thick of it, you don’t necessarily realize how you’re overcommitting, how you’re burning yourself out, how your whole life is going to hell around you. Excuse my friends, yes, it’s like it’s like you don’t have, I think, real awareness from a independent perspective of where you know what your perspective should be on your life and I think some often what I have learned with family caregivers, as they are often the quote unquote sacrificial lamb of the family it’s somebody that, oh, she’ll take care of it, and usually it’s a woman. So I’m using that as as an intentional and and then you know the rest of the family just they go on and do their lives normally and there’s resentment, the builds up in family. So there’s this a whole other piece that happens within that person and oftentimes a family caregiver doesn’t know how to set founders because again, they’ve they’ve been used to taking everything on and and so I know that there’s a lot of listeners that listen to our show that absolutely are taking care of loved ones and they are amazing and their angels and they are probably one of my greatest passions that we you know that we do advocate for them and that you guys do have a right to have a life. You shouldn’t feel guilty right. It’s you’re exactly right. And and you look at the symptoms of caregiver barren out, and you know it’s all around us right now much much like the symptoms of anxiety and depression, or they’re very similar symptoms. I mean, you look at some of our caregivers yes, who have developed resentment and irritability and the withdrawing from family and friends. They’re not taking care of their own health, they may have they’re not sleeping, they are using alcohol or medications and, you know, certainly we want to look for people who just need to talk to somebody, whether that’s professionally or find a friend or a loved one to communicate with, and it’s just it’s a daunting task and you’re not alone and you need to really you know, I’ve always said, you know, you cannot take care of somebody else if you are not taking care of yourself. It’s easier said than done. Now it’s totally yes, is so oftentimes I will say, you know, you need to learn to say no, you need to set boundaries, you need to do all these things, and they look at me and they say, yeah, but there’s I don’t have anybody else to take care of my mom. You say all these things and it’s one thing. So, you know, I can appreciate that. To every single person that’s listening to this show that may feel, you know, a bit overwhelmed and and we hear you and find there are communities out there, support groups there are and and believe me, reach out to us on answers for elders. We’re happy to, you know, to give you guys some resources and things like that, of various organizations that you your loved ones did never ever dominate your life, because that will happen very not you know, it will be detrimental to your life over the long term and I’m living proof of that. So absolutely that. Yeah, absolutely, we’re seeing that. And you have to be able to set your own boundaries. You have to know what your physical and emotional limits are and what’s best for your family member and, you know, set a time for yourself, talk to a professional, make sure that you’re staying healthy and exercises and eating correctly. All of these things are so, so critical. Find somebody that you trust, like you said, trusting somebody and not taking the whole burden on yourself, delegating task. I mean there’s just the list goes on and on, and you’re right. All your local in the across the country, your local area on aging offices have links and your community centers and your senior centers have links for support groups, for caregivers and the so urgeous after groups have great resources. So again, reach out to your community that we are here, and I think the other thing that’s really important is that it’s perfectly acceptable to set a schedule. I know that was one probably Sean one of my hardest things that I ever did with my mom, because my mom was very demanding. We had fight moved her down here to assist a living. She knew nobody right so I felt this overwhelming need that I had to be there every day. And one of the things that when she went into assisted living in because I was so emotionally wrapped up in it, I was going like every day and of course I was juggling a full time job and all of those things. But here’s what happened. I’m very grateful. The nurse of the assist to live in community said, Suzanne, I want you to go home and I want you to let your mother stay here for a week and do not visit. And that was one week. It was like, oh my gosh, she needs to adjust, she needs to know that you’re okay and it’s okay well and and it’s okay for you to call her, it’s okay for you to check in on her, but I don’t want you to visit. And I was shocked. But you know what, it taught me she was just fine at the end of the week. And the other thing that happened, I thought, and then the next thing was, you know what, I am going to set a schedule. And so I did set a schedule and you know my mom, for her to just say I need some things to the store, great, mom, I’ll do that when I come see you on Tuesday. Yeah, and that’s absolutely so credical and that makes such a world of difference for both the both the order and the family member. Now utilize, utilize outside services to that’s another important thing, whether it’s not mediical services or skilled home health. That gives you a break. lets the professionals come in, sitters, somebody they can come with help with cooking and housekeeping and give you a break to get out of the House and go run air and simple well, and you mention home health, which is so important. And there’s the good news. Medicare pays for home health everyone, and if your loved one is a fall risk, you should definitely talk to your loved ones physician and have home health authorized. It is cost you nothing and help them with their balance, help them to so that they’re not a fall risk in their house and now those are services that are available to right now. That costs you nothing. It is a Medicare yes, and think about you couple the fact that you’re taking care of somebody. Their activity levels are down. So now why do you want to increase your physical activity, which you’ve that? The amount of seniors I’ve had a cognitive decline is so significant and it’s heartbreaking, honestly. Home Health helps with that. We have, you know, occupational they are become in and establish base lines and educate the loved ones on how to transition and make these adjustments in their care, skilled and non skilled. Home Health or just incredibly valuable resources right now. Yeah, and and I will say also, just just a side note, is that we need to be mindful to prevent care grimber burnout and that a part of it is you may not be feeling burned out right now, but there’s a lot of things that can happen in your life again, you’re my life could spin out of control tomorrow and you don’t realize it. Burnout just doesn’t happen all of a sudden. It’s a duds, an overtime scenario. And so, Sean, would you share with this a little bit about what we can do to prevent that. Right. And you want to start by just setting yourself up for success, not just setting up your loved one for success, but you personally. You want to have a routine. You want to take care of your health first and foremost, so exercising and eating well. Know who your contacts are. Who can you help delegate task to? Do you have other loved ones? Do you have a son or a daughter that could help, a granddaughter that can come in and sit with Grahama for a few hours a week? Start making a schedule, like you said that. I can’t stress that enough, of knowing and planning ahead during your week of time for yourself and time for your loved one and allowing as many people you know that you can feel comfortable doing right now into your space so that you’re not taking the whole brunt of that yourself. And not to be, you know, Cliche, but it does take a village everyone. Absolutely not do it on your own, and and if anybody thinks that you know that you can, they’re wrong. You know, your life is has just as much value as anyone else’s and sadly, a lot of times caregivers forget that. So we are very, very excited to be talking to Dr Shaun Weiss this hour and Sean, you’re going to be right back right after this and we’re going to talk about fall prevention. We kind of touched on at this hour, but we’re going to talk a lot about balance, mobility and how to keep yourself safe in your home, right back, right after this. We would like to thank you for listening to this podcast by Dr Shaun Weiss, CEO of Senior Health and wellness group, focusing on wellness and prevention strategies for seniors. As a fall prevention specialist, Dr Weiss provides family support and education to keep your loved one safe. You can learn more by visiting her website at www dot senior health and wellness dot org.


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Originally published August 08, 2021

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