Signs of an Over-Involved Caregiver

As your loved ones age, they may need to start thinking about the idea of hiring a caregiver. Today, most of the elderly population has few choices for care during their twilight years. They can stay with family, hire a caregiver and stay in their own homes, or they can move into a nursing home or an assisted living facility. Out of all of these options, many seniors choose to hire a caregiver so that they can stay in the comfort and familiarity of their own home. Caregivers are wonderful, loving people who provide many different types of care for your loved one. They can help them prepare meals, do laundry, clean their homes, or provide them with personal care. If your loved one has decided they wish to have a caregiver and you have found the perfect person, then you may think that you have hit the lottery. However, it essential that you continue to communicate thoroughly with the caregiver and give them the time off they deserve. Many of the best caregivers throw themselves in their job so completely that they risk becoming overly stressed and burn out. These types of caregivers are often overly-involved in their work. Here are a few signs that the caregiver you hired is a bit overly-involved and may need a vacation to gain perspective on their job.

Your loved one is bored

If your loved one is bored all day, then it may be a sign that their caregiver is doing too much for them. While it is often a good sign if a caregiver is super organized and well-prepared, it can also lead to them taking over the life of your loved one. If your loved one’s caregiver has handled their life so effectively and efficiently that your loved one is bored, it may be a sign that they are overly-involved.

The caregiver has not taken a day off in months

Vacation days are essential to staying stress free and happy. Workers in any field of work who do not take vacations days often feel overly stressed at work and can become burn out easily. If your loved one’s caregiver has not taken a day off in months, then it may be a sign they have become too involved. If this is the case, then they may have begun to focus on your loved one’s care more so than their own. Talk with the caregiver and offer them a week or two off in order to recharge, but make sure you have a plan B for whenever they are gone. You can hire an interim caregiver or have members of the family stay with your loved one while their caregiver is gone.

Your loved one constantly calls them when they are not in the home

Caregivers provide companionship to their patients. But, if the relationship has blossomed to the point where your loved one is constantly calling them for health advice or to come back to their home, then your loved one may have learned to depend on the caregiver too much. If this occurs, the caregiver may be handling your loved one’s life too efficiently and not allowing your loved one to do things on their own. Unless your loved one is home-bound, immobile, or mentally handicapped then they should not need to rely on their caregiver for every small aspect of their life. If they do, then it may be because the caregiver has stepped into their life and taken over and your loved one has become accustomed to their control.

The caregiver appears stressed and anxious

One of the most common signs of a caregiver who is overly-involved is if the caregiver appears stressed out or anxious whenever they show up to work. When caregivers become overly-involved they put themselves at risk for burn out. When this occurs, they may appear stressed and anxious and begin to resent their job.

The caregiver begins to slack on their job

If the caregiver has reached the point of being burn out, then they may begin to slack on certain aspects of their job. They may start showing up late to work or leaving early. Or, they may start preparing meals poorly or not finishing the laundry. If you notice that they are beginning to slack off, then talk to them about their stress levels and suggest they take a vacation.

The caregiver offers to run errands or do favors for other members of the family

If a caregiver begins to offer to run errands or do favors for other family members or friends of your loved, then they may be too involved. If this occurs only a few times, then it is not something to worry about. They probably are simply being nice and trying to help out. However, if it is a common occurrence, then it may be a sign that they have become overly-involved and are now pushing their own personal responsibilities away to help your loved one and your family. This can lead to your caregiver becoming overly stressed and should be stopped.

The caregiver does not take care of themselves

If the caregiver begins to stop taking care of themselves, then it may be a sign they are overly-involved. Often, overly-involved caregivers take such great care of your loved one that they allow their own health, wellness and happiness to slip down the drain. You may notice that they begin to look tired, stressed and pale. They may also begin getting sick often or putting on weight. If this happens, then talk with the caregiver about taking care of themselves and taking a vacation.

Overly-involved caregivers are not a bad thing to have. Usually, these caregivers take excellent care of your loved one and truly do love and care about them. However, overly-involved caregivers can become easily stressed and burn out. They may allow their own health and personal life to suffer as they take care of their patient. Overtime, this is not good for them or for your loved one. If you noticed that your loved one’s caregiver appears too involved, then offer them a few days to weeks of vacation to help them recharge and become healthier.

For additional articles on caregiver relationships, check the following articles I our home care blog:

Caregiving and Sibling Relationships (1st of 3 parts)

Who is Caring for the Caregiver? Healthy Habits for Family Caregivers

Caregiver Stress: Tips for Stress Relief