Many seniors rate their relationship with their caregivers as one of their most important relationship. Whether the caregiver is a family member or a professional, caregivers may sometimes experience great stress, as they may feel that they lack the knowledge or the emotional stamina to deal with the needs of one or many of the specific individuals they work with. Furthermore, they have to balance their work and also navigating their own lives and its stresses: spouse, children and career. Without proper stress outlets, self-care and support from their environment, caregivers may frequently experience great physical and emotional tension, a phenomenon called *caregiver burnout.
*Caregiver Burnout refers to a state of physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion that may be accompanied by a change in attitude (e.g. from positive and caring to negative and unconcerned). Caregiver burnout can cause significant frustration and sadness, feelings of powerlessness or even detachment. It can also lead to maladaptive assumptions, where we may start thinking that an individual is purposefully “being difficult”. Furthermore, watching someone that we have to care about struggle every day can cause a sense of powerlessness and suffering in the caregiver.
EBWS offers individual counseling and caregiver groups to release stress, offer guidance for self-care and relaxation training, and support groups that create a sense of normalcy and acceptance. We offer these services at our offices or at the long-term care facilities as needed. We also offer educational sessions to increase caregivers’ knowledge around effective ways to work with older adults or individuals suffering from chronic illness, both physical and emotional.
- Support & Skills Group: The purpose of these groups is to provide emotional relief, support and feedback from other caregivers in the group; also to learn and practice effective communication skills, boundary setting, needs assessment, coping skills to avoid caregiver burnout.
- Training Group: As adults, we are taught or intuitively pick up on how to care for our children. However, most of us are not taught how to care for our parents and seniors in a way that is meaningful for them, especially in combination with caring for ourselves and appropriately attending to all of our other daily responsibilities. Experienced professionals provide education on the physical and emotional needs of older adults, practical tools to increase understanding and collaboration between the caregiver and the individual receiving the care, and efficient steps to diffuse and minimize potential conflict or struggle in doing the work.