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The 2023 Ultimate Guide to Caregiver Burnout

All caregivers are at risk of burnout.

This guide breaks down what caregiver burnout is, its causes, and how to treat and prevent it.



Caregiving is one of the most challenging and time-consuming roles anyone can be in. Consider these facts about caregivers:

A graphic of two mens holding cane with text 46% of caregivers stated : Further details are provided below
37% of caregivers have emotional difficulties [National Alliance for caregiving and AARP.[2015] Caregiving in the U.S.]

With many responsibilities, caregivers run the risk of developing caregiver burnout (also known as caregiver fatigue). Caregiver burnout is a state of emotional, mental, and physical exhaustion. It can result from being in a stressful situation, not dealing with emotions appropriately, and constantly being on the go without taking breaks.

Caregiver burnout is dangerous to not just caregivers but their care recipient. It can result in caregivers making mental lapses when it comes to their quality of care. Thus, potentially resulting in injury to both the caretaker and their recipient.

Caregiver burnout shouldn’t be confused with other conditions such as caregiver stress, depression, and compassion fatigue. While these conditions are very similar, they have a few differences, which we’ll cover. Caregiver stress often leads to caregiver burnout which can then lead to depression and compassion fatigue.

In this article, we’re going to cover the causes of caregiver burnout, who’s more at risk, signs and symptoms of caregiver burnout, the differences between burnout, stress, depression, compassion fatigue, and ways to treat and prevent caregiver burnout.

Causes of Caregiver Burnout

Caregiver/Caretaker burnout is the result of constantly being under immense pressure and stress. This condition is known to affect all caregiver facets, including mental, physical, and emotional. It can leave them feeling drained and unable to perform their routine daily tasks. Causes of caregiver burnout include:

  • High demands and needs from their care recipient. If the care recipient has high demands or a condition requiring many needs, the caretaker may develop feelings of guilt and become overwhelmed.
  • Conflicting needs and demands from multiple people. Being pulled in many directions can cause one to feel as if they’re in an impossible situation. They may be under pressure to please their care recipient, family, or friends all at once.
  • Unclear expectations. Not having clear expectations from a care recipient can cause miscommunication and a poor quality of care. It can also cause the caregiver to feel confused and “lost” when it comes to their daily tasks.
  • Large workloads. Having a laundry list of tasks can overwhelm anyone. Caregivers with a large workload may not even know where to start, causing them to become burnt out.
  • Conflicting methods of treatment. If the caretaker has a different opinion in regards to care, they may develop feelings of resentment. This can cause them to feel guilty as they feel they aren’t providing high-quality care.
  • No privacy or personal time. Privacy is a human need. Without it, caregivers may feel like they don’t have an identity. Without personal time, caregivers aren’t given time to reset and unwind from their role.
  • A lack of support. Support is an essential piece to successful caregiving. Those without support may feel isolated. They may feel the immense pressure and mental strain and have no one to turn to. This can lead to feelings of loneliness and tremendous stress.
  • Poor physical and mental hygiene. Caregivers need both their psychological and physical health to stay healthy. Not taking care of themselves may lead to physical and mental illness. Self-care is essential.
  • Financial pressure. Family caregivers are more likely to develop burnout from financial stress. Not knowing how to pay for things or handle their care recipient’s finances may lead to stress and then burnout. 
  • Feelings of guilt. Caregiving is very much a humanitarian role. Those in this role are often exposed to death, injury, and struggle. While much of it is out of control, some caregivers tend to feel guilty. They feel bad because they can’t “fix” the issues their care recipient is having.
  • Sleep deprivation. Improper sleep hygiene can lead to caregiver burnout. We need sleep to reset, mentally and physically. Sleep deprivation impacts every aspect of our life and can lead to burnout.
  • Lack of resources or training. Not having the proper knowledge can cause caretakers to make avoidable mistakes. As these mistakes add up, the caregiver may feel hopeless, stressed, and even angry. All of which can lead to caregiver burnout.
Causes of Caregiver Burnout : Further details are provided below

The causes of burnout are relatively explainable. Caregiving can be very stressful. When undealt with, emotions can lead to a domino effect of other health issues and even more caregiver strain.

Which Types of Caregivers are Most at Risk?

No caretaking role is the same. Each role has varying roles and responsibilities based on the caregiver and care recipient’s relation, health conditions, and more. In this section, we’ll break down varying demographics that pose a risk of developing caregiver burnout.

A graphic of a family of six

Family Members

Family caregivers must be cautious and active when it comes to preventing burnout. A 2015 study by AARP on the impact of caregiver health by relationship to the care recipient found:

  • 37% of those caring for a spouse experience depleted health from their role.
  • 25% of caregivers taking care of their parents reported an adverse health effect.
  • And 17% of those caring for other relatives found negative health consequences as a result of caregiving. 

What’s more, only 5% of those caring for a nonrelative reported their role negatively impacting their health. Because there is a stronger emotional bond, family caregivers may feel the harmful effects of caregiving more strongly. Thus, making them more prone to caregiver burnout.

A graphic of  parents with their children


Those caring for their own children on top of their parents are known as the sandwich generation. They’re stuck between caring for their own kids and having to cope with being a caregiver for their parents. These caregivers, on average, spend three hours per day on unpaid care, with nearly ¾ of them being employed full-time.

The sandwich generation experiences mass amounts of pressure as they’re relatively new to caregiving. Not only that, but they must balance caring for their parents, kids, and themselves on top of their careers. Their busy schedule and a never-ending list of responsibilities make them prone to caregiver burnout.

A graphic of a female caregiver with an elderly woman in front of a home

Live-in Caregivers

One of the critical components of the risk of burnout is the number of hours a caregiver spends in their role. According to Caregiver.org, the average caregiver spends roughly 20 hours per week tending to their position. However, live-in caregivers spend nearly double at 39.3 hours per week.

AARP found a correlation between the number of hours spent caregiving and declining health. They found that 30% of co-resident caregivers experience a negative impact on their health due to their role. Live-in caregivers don’t have the luxury of removing themselves from their role compared to other types of caregivers. This means they’re “on-call” almost 24/7 while other caregivers can “clock out” from their position. Thus, putting them at higher risk of becoming burnt out.

A graphic of a female caregiver next to an elderly woman sitting down

Caregivers with Complex Responsibilities

Caregivers with more health-oriented tasks (such as providing medication injections or wrapping injuries) or caring for those with emotional or mental health issues are more at risk of burnout. AARP reported that of the 25% of caregivers that reported a health decline:

  • 27% are involved in some variation of health or medical task
  • 37% are caring for someone with an emotional or mental health impairment such as Alzheimer’s disease

Caring for those with complicated health conditions such as Alzheimer’s adds even more stress to caregivers. The regressive nature of dementia, combined with the lack of adequate medical treatments, puts a significant burden on caregivers. These conditions require them to be more involved, which makes their extensive list of responsibilities even longer. The CDC reports that those caring for dementia-related needs are at greater risk of anxiety, depression, and more inferior quality of life compared to caregivers of those with other conditions.

A graphic of a woman


Women make up 60% of the caregiver demographic. What’s more, they also make up 62% of caregivers who provide 21+ hours of care each week. When it comes to female caregivers, studies show married women are more at risk of burnout. 27% of married female caregivers report a health decline compared to 16% of unmarried women and 20% of men.

A significant source of stress lies in the societal expectation that women should care for the elderly. This perception puts a lot of stress and pressure on female caregivers, more so than males. And because males don’t experience this expectation, they get more praise and positive feedback when in the role. In comparison, females receive vastly different treatment.

Women also bear more financial strain when in their role. They’re more likely to lose monetary wages because of their role and experience financial hardship.

A graphic of a male


While yes, male caregivers make up less of the caregiver demographic; they have different struggles than women. The stereotype of the strong and independent male makes them less likely to ask for support. Thus, they’re less likely to gather the resources to make their role more manageable.

Another aspect to consider is preparation before entering the caregiver role. Men are less likely to be prepared with the skills and training needed compared to women. One study found that 54% of male caregivers found it moderately to very difficult to assist care recipients with personal care needs. These factors can put them at risk of issues that affect them physically, emotionally, and mentally.

Male caregivers are also more likely to be working in addition to their caregiver role. An AARP report found that 66% of male caregivers were employed, compared to 55% of female caregivers. The need to balance work and caregiving can create even more emotional strain.

Caregiver Burnout Symptoms and Signs

As with any health condition, the best approach to treating and preventing caregiver burnout is looking out for signs and symptoms. These are the most common signs and symptoms of caregiver burnout:

Caregiver Burnout Symptoms and Signs. : Further details are provided below
  • Withdrawal from friends and family.
  • Loss of motivation and interest in activities previously enjoyed.
  • Feeling blue, irritable, hopeless, and helpless. 
  • Feeling like you’re losing control of your life.
  • Changes in appetite, weight, or both.
  • Changes in sleep patterns.
  • Getting sick more often.
  • Frequent headaches.
  • Feelings of wanting to hurt yourself or the person for whom you are caring.
  • Emotional and physical exhaustion.
  • Inability to concentrate.
  • Difficulty making decisions.
  • Irritability or impatience.
  • Getting sick more often.

Caregiver Burnout vs. Caregiver Stress vs. Depression vs. Compassion Fatigue

Caregiver burnout, stress, depression, and compassion fatigue are commonly mistaken for one another because of their similarities. However, each is a different condition with differences in symptoms and treatment. In this section, we’ll compare each condition with caregiver burnout so you can identify any signs.

Caregiver Burnout vs Depression Both offers in source, feelings associated, stress removal and method of relief.

Caregiver Burnout vs. Depression

Both of these conditions share similar emotional, mental, and physical symptoms. Caregiver burnout and caregiver depression both differ in:

  • Source: Caregiver burnout results from being overly exposed to a stressful scenario, while depression is a disorder in moods or state of mind.
  • Feelings associated: Depression causes you to feel hopeless and as if life has lost its happiness. On the other hand, caregiver burnout makes you feel as if all of your energy has disappeared.
  • Stress removal: If you take time away from your role and begin feeling better, you most likely have burnout. However, if your symptoms do not recede, you may suffer from depression. 
  • Method of relief: Those with caregiver burnout typically will start feeling reduced symptoms with time away from caregiving. Depression is not primarily situational and is generally treated with medications or psychotherapy.

It’s important to note that caregiver burnout can lead to depression if untreated. It’s always best to relieve caregiver burnout before it manifests into worse conditions.

Caregiver Burnout vs Caregiver Stress Difference caregiver stress is a mild form of burnout and it can lead to burnout

Caregiver Burnout vs. Caregiver Stress

Caregiver stress is a mild form of caregiver burnout. Those experiencing caregiver stress don’t feel the emotional and physical exhaustion experienced with caregiver burnout. However, caregiver stress, when untreated, can manifest itself into caregiver burnout over time. This is why new caregivers must have proper coping mechanisms to handle stress. Doing so helps in preventing caregiver burnout.

Caregiver Burnout vs Compassion Fatigue : Further details are provided below

Compassion Fatigue vs. Burnout

While caregiver burnout occurs over time, compassion fatigue develops suddenly. Someone with caregiver burnout is still able to emphasize with their care recipient. Meanwhile, a person with compassion fatigue has lost the ability to feel compassion and empathy towards others.

Caregiver burnout can be a cause of compassion fatigue. But compassion fatigue is typically a result of being exposed to trauma and their care recipient’s everyday struggle.

How to Treat and Prevent Caregiver Burnout (self-care for caregivers)

Caregiver burnout is very much so avoidable with the proper precautions. While stress is almost a given with caregiving (aka caregiver stress), burnout does not have to be. If you’re struggling with caregiver burnout (also known as caregiver syndrome), or feel as if you’re at risk of it or struggling, try these caregiver tips and methods on how to recover from caregiver burnout:

A sign that reads “mind your head”

Constantly check yourself for signs of caregiver burnout

Self-awareness is the biggest key when it comes to avoiding caregiver burnout. If you can keep track of your emotional, mental, and physical condition, then you’ll be able to identify when it comes creeping in to take proper action.

A person laying in front of calm water

Make personal time a priority

Personal time is vital to anyone. But caregivers, often out of guilt, tend to neglect their personal time.

A calendar open on a desk

Have a set schedule

Have a set schedule when you are available and only respond to emergencies outside of that time.

A therapist talking to a patient

Take to someone, even if it's a therapist

Caregiving can be one of the most ambiguous and overwhelming positions to have. And carrying the emotions that come with it will only make things worse. Have someone you can talk to for support, advice, and just to vent to can be a great help for caregiver burnout. This will get you outside of your head and make you feel less lonely.

A to do list on a desk

Break goals and to-dos down into manageable pieces

You may find your to-do list piling up, and that’s okay. The key to preventing your extensive task list from burning you out is to break your list into smaller, more manageable lists. Try listing all of your tasks and then breaking them down by day and week. This will help you stay organized and plan your daily activities accordingly. We’ve created a caregiver task template here to help.

A group of hands in a huddle

Divide up responsibilities with others

If an option, try reaching out to friends or family that may be willing to help. Gather a list of your responsibilities, identify the ones you struggle most with, and ask if they’d be able to help. Doing so will reduce the pressure you face and allow you to focus on doing other tasks more effectively.

A person’s hand with a cleaning glove on

Look into professional services

Professional services such as cleaning, grocery delivery, transportation, physical therapy, and even caregivers can remove items from your task list.

A woman on a swing looking at a man

Improve the bond you have with your care recipient

If you aren’t close with the person you’re caring for, closing that gap may reduce burnout. The reason lies in fulfillment. When we’re more fulfilled, tedious tasks become more manageable. Getting close with your care recipient will make your role fun. It will give you something to look forward to, even on more challenging days.

A shot of feed on a wood path

Add some level of physical fitness into your day

The caregiver role relies heavily on having good physical health. Make sure you implement a routine around your schedule to stay in good physical health. Insufficient fitness levels are not conducive to caregiving and can lead to injury. Your routine can be as simple as taking short walks or doing a set number of lunges/push-ups each day.

A woman sleeping in bed

Get Enough Sleep

Sleep is vital to overall health. A lack of sleep inhibits our ability to think and feel emotions. Try to get eight hours of quality sleep each night. Doing so allows your body and mind to reset and rest.

A person holding up a sign that reads “grateful”

Practice gratitude daily

One study on 300 people experiencing depression and anxiety found a link between practicing gratitude and unshackling ourselves from toxic emotions. It’s been thought that gratitude makes it harder to ruminate on negative experiences. Thus, causing feelings of happiness to be more apparent.

A neon sign that reads “EAT”

Eat Well

Having a healthy diet is crucial to mental and physical well-being. Because of caregiving’s physical demands, it’s even more important to focus on a healthy diet.

A close up of a persons hand while meditating

Implement Stress Relief Techniques

What you do at the moment when you’re stressed is key to preventing caregiver burnout. Try these tips from Healthline:

  • Exercise
  • Consider stress-relieving supplements such as lemon balm, green tea, and valerian.
  • Light an aromatherapy candle, which has been proven to reduce stress and anxiety.
  • Write down what you’re feeling
  • Chew gum
  • Spend time with someone to vent to or as a distraction
  • Try to find humor via a video, conversation, or trip down memory lane
  • Say no to what’s stressing you out. If you’re stressed because of work overload, learn to say no when appropriate. If you can’t take on additional tasks, then don’t. Those extra tasks will only wear you out and decrease your quality of care.
  • Write down what you need to do. This can help as it creates a visual plan you need to reduce your stress and work overload.
  • Try yoga for stress reduction. Yoga has become a popular and proven method of reducing stress. Not only is it good for you, but it can be done almost anywhere, even when away from home.
A doctor holding a cell phone

See a Doctor Regularly

Even if you feel your health is in good condition, it’s always good to see a doctor regularly. They may find ways or recommend supplements that can help reduce caregiver burnout.

Grass plants in sunlight

Try to Get Sunlight Every Day

Sunlight is vital to a healthy life. The sun does many beneficial things, including mood regulation, sleep-wake regulation, and improved energy. If you can’t get outside, light therapy lamps are designed to mimic the sun for its benefits.

A neon sign that reads “the journey is on”

Enjoy and View Caregiving as a Journey

Start thinking about your caregiving role as a movie, one filled with ups, downs, losses, and wins. Doing so will help see the purpose in each event, even when they’re adverse. This mindset can help you get the most out of each moment.

A small figurine trophy

Celebrate Every Victory

It’s important to celebrate every victory, win, birthday, and holiday. These celebrations will bring you happiness and learn to enjoy even the small wins.

Two women at the beach with one sitting in a chair

Create traditions with your care recipient

Traditions are a great way to make memories and have things to look forward to. They can be as simple as going for ice cream on Tuesdays or adventurous as traveling somewhere once per month. Traditions, whether big or small, can create many great memories.

A donkey with its mouth open as if its laughing

Add a flow of laughter into your day

Laughter is often the best medicine. Try surrounding yourself with laughter. It can be in the form of people, movies, or TV shows. Doing so will reduce symptoms of caregiver stress which leads to burnout.

Concrete with paint in the shape of a smiling face

Regularly do things that bring you happiness

Caregiver burnout comes from withholding one’s self from things one enjoys doing. Make time for activities you like doing outside of your role. It will help ground you and bring fulfillment.

Close-up of hands massing a person’s back

Pamper Yourself

Treating one’s self may serve as a form of stress relief. Try:

  • Going to the spa
  • Seeing a movie
  • Going out to dinner
  • Getting a massage
Close up of glasses looking at trees with a blurry background

Focus on what you can control

It’s natural for us to want to control things. It offers a form of support and safety. Unfortunately, many things are out of the caregiver’s control. Try writing the things that bother you and then the things you can control. Focusing on what you can control will reduce unnecessary stress and anxiety.

A journal next to books on a black surface

Be proactive instead of reactive

What things can you do to prevent avoidable accidents? Do you have an emergency plan with a list of contacts? Try to think of some actions or strategies you can make to avoid accidents. Doing so will make you better prepared as well as reduce potential workloads.

Caregiver statistics

Be Aware of the Struggles Associated with Caregiving

Try to familiarize yourself with daily caregiver tasks, demographics, and struggles. There are many studies with caregiver statistics that can make you aware of potential issues that lay ahead.

Sunglasses on a beach

Schedule Out Vacations

Scheduling out vacations in advance will force you to take them. Try planning out vacations for the year, so you not only take them but have something to look forward to.

A neon sign on a concrete post that reads, “coffee break”

Take Regular Breaks Throughout Your Day

Even if just five minutes, breaks can give you minor resets needed to get through the day. Spend time doing things you enjoy, going for walks or listening to music for a solid mid-day reset.

Two hands reaching for each other

Join Caregiver Support Groups

The internet is a wonderful place to find help for caregivers. There are many Facebook and Reddit groups dedicated to caregiver support.

32% of caregivers describe their role as stressful, putting them at risk of caregiver burnout. While yes, being a caregiver is hard, it doesn’t have to be stressful. With the proper precautions and steps, caregiving can be rewarding and even fun.

First Hand Advice from Experts on Caregiving

We reached out to experts on caregiving for advice on preventing and treating caregiver burnout.

Headshot for Kristen Fleming

Kristen Fleming 

Caregiving expert and education coordinator 


"In order for a caregiver to take care of a loved one they need to prioritize self-care. One way to take care of yourself as a caregiver is to take a break. Sometimes these short breaks are called respite and allow the caregiver to get away for a few hours or for a few days. There's many different ways to get this break. Maybe you ask a friend or family member to stay with your loved one so you can spend the afternoon going for a walk or getting lunch with a friend. Or perhaps you hire a home health aide to stay with your loved one overnight so you can get a good night's sleep at a hotel. It isn't selfish for you to want to take time for yourself, in fact it will actually improve your abilities as a caregiver."

Headshot for Aaron Blight, ED.D

Aaron Blight, Ed.D.



"Caregiver burnout is a result of extending yourself beyond your capacity to care. Sometimes caregivers falsely assume that they are needed for absolutely everything, which can become overwhelming. To reduce potential caregiver burnout, set realistic expectations of what you can and cannot do. Step back to re-examine what you're doing for your loved one. Ask yourself:

  • Are there care-related tasks that can be satisfactorily covered by someone else? 
  • If yes, does it make sense to turn over these tasks to another person so that you can maintain your well-being and avoid burnout?"
Headshot for Jami Carder, BSN, RN, CTRC

Jami Carder, BSN, RN, CTRC

Registered Nurse, Certified Trauma Recovery coach and certified Namah Shivayah meditation instructor


"None of us ever intend to fall victim to compassion fatigue, and it's the rare caregiver who notices this in him/herself. When we are in this role, we tend to normalize the symptoms of burnout. Sometimes, that feels like the only way to keep us continuing the job. I've been encouraging coworkers, friends or family members to identify burnout in the caregiver and begin dialogue around the subject without pointing fingers. Validating the immensely stressful conditions most caregivers have to work under is the first step in helping them to recognize burnout. Very often, those with burnout feel powerless to do anything about it, and many are reluctant to ask for help. By sharing our own frustrations and fears, or supplying them with data to show how common and normal their feelings are, it can give them permission to admit they are struggling. Many aspects of our society condition people to not complain. In the caregiver field, asking for help and complaining can feel like the same thing.

Being a caregiver often requires us to put our needs aside for the sake of others. But if we don't set aside time for satisfying our own needs and prioritizing self-care, we are not able to show up to our job in the healthiest version of ourselves, and that can affect our ability to perform good care.

Instead of normalizing burnout, we need to start normalizing self-care..

Self-care for caregivers can be anything that causes joy or relaxation. This could be exercise, meditation, therapy, socialization, a spa day, spending time with family...anything that provides space for the caregiver to focus his or her own needs. "Me time" is vital. Taking care of ourselves allows us to show up for our patients, as well as our own families, in a way that lets us provide the best care possible. Healthy caregivers provide healthy care."

Headshot for Megan Word

Megan Word

Chief of Community Engagement 


"FSL offers the following tips to help relieve stress and burnout:

  • Find something to laugh about every day.
  • Eat a well-balanced diet; no matter how busy, never skip meals.
  • Get plenty of sleep.
  • Exercise for 30 minutes each day.
  • Prioritize, make lists and establish a daily routine.
  • Join a caregiver support group to share your feelings with others in similar situations.
  • Ask for and accept help whenever possible."
Logo for Zaggo

Roberta Carson



Be an engaged member of the medical team.

  • Stay organized and on top of all medical issues. Firstly, take detailed notes at all medical appointments. And bring them with you to share with your medical team at each appointment. Additionally, bring copies of test results and medication lists (including over the counter drugs) to all appointments.
  • Realize that you need to coordinate care between all medical professionals. Do not assume they have access to, or have read, detailed reports from other doctors on your team.
  • Ask as many questions as you need until you are sure you understand what the doctors, nurses and other staff tell you. Importantly, don't be afraid to ask a doctor or nurse to repeat or rephrase a response.
  • Ask your health insurer to assign you a case manager, who can be very helpful to you as you navigate the medical world.
  • Before a hospital discharge, make sure you clearly understand all instructions. If difficult or unfamiliar tasks are necessary (e.g., injections), practice at the hospital with a nurse until you feel confident. Additionally, if the patient needs home health equipment, ask your discharge planner to help you arrange for insurance coverage and delivery.
Headshot for Kie Copenhaver, CSA, RCFE, RHIA

Kie Copenhaver, CSA, RCFE, RHIA

Certified Senior Advisor


Caregiver burnout (and death) is of paramount importance right now, with approximately 10k people turning 65 years old each day, many of which need assistance with Activities of Daily Living (ADLs). Caregivers must reach out and ask for help - from neighbors, friends, family and community resources - before their health and wellbeing (both physical and mental) suffers irreparable damage and they go from caregiver to the one needing care.

"Take your PTO before you become too exhausted to enjoy it! PTO is not for when you're burned out and all you want to do is sleep. PTO is for actually enjoying your time outside of your workplace in whatever way you choose. If the pandemic taught us anything is that we have to enjoy and live in the present. Stop saving your PTO for some catastrophe you don't know for sure is going to happen. Take your PTO."

Headshot for Kait Towner, LMHC, RPT, CCPT, IMH-E

Kait Towner, LMHC, RPT, CCPT, IMH-E 

Licensed Mental Health Counselor

  • "Find opportunities for self care. Although scheduling self care is ideal, be flexible about when you can implement your self care routine. Is there five minutes when all the kids are calm and entertaining themselves? Use it to your advantage and implement one of your self care strategies, be it taking a deep breath, reading a book, or making yourself a special beverage.
  • Be Realistic. It can be automatic to have the thought or desire about being the "perfect caregiver." However, it can be harmful to aim for perfection in any of your roles! Being realistic about your expectations for yourself as a caregiver can lead you to having less burnout overall. Everyone has bad days and makes poor decisions from time to time. Give yourself some grace and know that you are doing the best that you can!"
Headshot for Timothy Kelly, LCSW

Timothy Kelly, LCSW


  • "Wear a different hat or outfit. Completing a ritual that indicates the start and the end of physical caregiving can help the family separate the many different roles. I usually recommend to caregivers that they should wear different clothing like scrubs or wear a different hat.
  • Call your family member by their name. When acting in the caregiving role, changing how you refer to your family member also brings you to a different headspace. Calling them by their name neurologically differentiates your role and separates you from "mom" and "dad" mentally. 
  • Find a space to express negative feelings. This could be with supportive friends, family outside of the caregiving circle, or even a mental health professional. The adage where caregivers should apply the oxygen mask to themselves before their loved ones compare self-care to an inflight emergency. This is inappropriate because caregiving is not an emergency, but a role that requires giving yourself to others. More accurate is imagining yourself like a cup of tea, or coffee for those needing the caffeine. Does your cup overflow? Then you have enough to give to others. 
Headshot for Sharon P. Fisher, MS, PMHNP-BC, PMH-C

Sharon P. Fisher, MS, PMHNP-BC, PMH-C



"People become caregivers, whether professional or personal, because it aligns with their values. Think about it, not every adult child attends to their aging parents. Nor does every person seeking a job do so in the care taking field. In fact, many people have good paying stable jobs that don't even involve interacting with other people! Therefore, if you are feeling burnt out from caregiving, reflect on why you do it. This will inspire and energize you. Of course, you may need to take more breaks or set more boundaries around your giving. However, you will ultimately feel good in your decision to do it, not resentful."

Headshot for Brenda Avadian, MA

Brenda Avadian, MA



"Avadian’s Caregiving Diamond Tip:
It goes beyond the Golden Rule.
Care for a loved one the way you would want to be cared for
IF you were living with the same disease or illness.

When we internalize and then care for another with The Diamond Tip,
something clicks… something changes within us.
Our energy is restored and we are able to go on,
because each caring act becomes a mirror of another caring for us
in the same way."

Headshot for Dr. Jenna Liphart Rhoads

Dr. Jenna Liphart Rhoads

Registered Nurse


"Being a caregiver at home or professionally can place immense amounts of physical, mental, and emotional stress on the caregiver. Without implementing healthy ways to combat the stress, a caregiver runs the risk of experiencing caregiver burnout.

My #1 tip for caregivers to avoid burnout is to take care of their own physical health. Emotional and mental health is also vital, however, most advice skims over the importance of physical health in caregiving. Each person has different needs to reach optimal physical health, however, all people need a healthy diet, adequate sleep, and physical movement. Without a healthy, properly functioning body the physical act of caregiving can be overly exhausting and even result in physical injuries."

Headshot for Dr. Sandra El Hajj

Dr. Sandra El Hajj



"Being a caregiver means that you decided to care for an ill loved one to help him of her have a better quality of life. This however poses a big toll on you at many levels such as mentally, emotionally and physically.

Eventually, you start feeling guilty if you take a small break that can help you catch your breath for a while and get composed so you can carry on with this act of kindness. One thing you would need to keep in mind is that it is ok to feel tired and feel unhappy at moments. This would be the signal for you to detach for a little while. You may want to go for meditation, breathing and music therapy. Exercising can surely add a happy spark to yourself while on this new mission."

Headshot for Kathy Heath

Kathy Heath

Autism Awareness Advocate


"Accept that you are human and you may have contradicting feelings when it comes to caregiving. It's natural to feel joy in caregiving, while also grieving the life you had before stepping into this role. Instead of avoiding or ruminating in guilt and shame over thinking negatively about the ones we care for, try naming your emotions aloud or writing them down. Common ones are grief and joy, love and resentment, hope and fear. When you learn to accept this as part of your reality, the weight of your responsibilities won't feel as all-consuming. You can learn to fully appreciate the pleasant emotions that can come from caregiving while understanding that ambivalence is a part of the journey as well."

About the Author

Head shot for Brandon Landgraf

Brandon Landgraf is the Digital Marketing Manager for Carex Health Brands. He finds passion and fulfillment in creating content that enhances, improves, and enlivens others' quality of life. All of his written work is formulated to not only offer essential advice and tips but back it with proven studies and experts. His mission is to connect with readers and provide steps to make their lives better.

You can connect with him on LinkedIn here.

About Carex Health Brands

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Carex is your one-stop shop for home medical equipment and for products that assist caregivers with providing the best possible support and care for their loved ones. Carex Health Brands has been the branded leader in in-home, self-care medical products for over 35 years. Our goal is to improve the lives of our customers by bring them quality products that bring dignity back to their lives. With our three nationally distributed brands, Carex Health Brands serves national, regional and independent food, drug and mass retailers along with wholesalers, distributors and medical dealers.

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