Kathy Lyons of Brightstar Care spoke with me about a very important subject: caregiver burnout. What is it? How do we prevent it? And how do we manage burnout if we’re already experiencing it? Brightstar Care provides home care to individuals with needs to maintain independent, in home living.
When asked, “when should a pro be brought in?” Kathy deftly noted, “Usually when they call us, they’re already past the need.” A preventive way to think is, on this path of caregiving, what is my capacity a week, 3 months, 6 months down the road? Think about what you’re currently doing and if you think you can do this for another 6 months. If you find yourself exhausted or overwhelmed already, and thinking about the longevity is nerve-wracking, its time to start investigating. Calling in help is a sign of strength and protecting yourself, your loved one, and your relationship, not a failure!
Many people are afraid to seek home care professionals because of the financial aspect. We, of course, have to be fiscally responsible. However, don’t be pennywise and pound foolish. Don’t waste relational time doing the busy, overwhelming tasks that someone else could step in and do. Make fond memories, maintain or establish a fulfilling relationship, be present in the process. Even grieve WITH them. It’s so easy to get caught up in the day-to-day tasks, you resent other family members, and you’re not a happy camper and possibly even taking it out on your elder loved one. There is often shame with feeling this way. It’s so important to bring this topic to light, to discuss it and take away the stigma and the feeling of aloneness. Almost every caregiver experiences anger, frustration and being overwhelmed. It doesn’t have to be this way!
What exactly is home care, the service the Brightstar provides? It is truly individually tailored care to meet each family’s needs. It could be someone who doesn’t drive anymore and doesn’t have family members close. So we can provide that service. Lots of people don’t want to burden friends or trust taxis or Uber / Lyft providers. Also, having someone trained to help an elderly person, who might have mobility issues, in and out of the car is huge. ADLs (activities of daily living) can be assistance showering, transferring to a shower or bath, getting dressed, preparing your own meals.
Families used to be larger and more centric, so the burden of caregiving seldom fell to one person. Everyone would pitch in. Now, people have fewer children and families often move away. At Brightstar, we are a team. We are here to help different caregivers. Brightstar is Joint Commission accredited, which is not required for Home Care agencies. But they validate and verify we are doing the things we say we are. We also have nurses on staff who draw up the Plans of Care, outlining the activities and duties for each patient, every week. To contact Kathy Lyons for more information on caregiver burnout or how Brightstar Care can help, call her at 206-777-1190 or go to www.brightstarcare.com . Once there, input your zip code and it will direct you to her office if you are in or around North Seattle. (Servicing King County and south Snohomish County.)
For more information and resources for caregiving, go to