Senior care is a demanding profession. In recent years, the turnover rate reached its highest point at 60%, with the main reason for leaving being low wages. But, caregivers are in this line of work for a reason. These individuals are truly compassionate and kindhearted people who come to work every day to care for others’ loved ones.
To protect your valuable team members, pay close attention to the looming possibility of caregiver burnout. Burnout can occur when caregivers feel discouraged or overwhelmed in the workplace. Some signs to look for are:
- Frustration and impatience with residents or coworkers
- Withdrawing from coworkers
- Losing interest in activities they once enjoyed
- Sleep patterns changing; tired more often
- Change in appetite and/or gaining or losing weight
Prevent Burnout and Promote Caregiver Wellbeing
Caregivers should set realistic goals for themselves and others. This way, they aren’t setting themselves up for failure with unrealistic expectations. When they’re feeling overwhelmed, caregivers shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help from leadership or their coworkers. You may need to utilize team building exercises or morning meetings in order to encourage the team to work together as one.
With the winter months approaching, seasonal depression or the “winter blues” can be a major factor in adding to caregiver burnout. With the change of seasons comes colder weather and shorter days. Individuals may often experience a change in overall mood or demeanor at this time of year. Caregivers will be spending more time indoors and less time outside enjoying the sunshine. To combat burnout caused by the winter blues, encourage the following in your staff members:
- Stay on the same daily schedule
- Soak up the sun when you can- get outside during breaks and keep blinds/curtains open in work and common areas
- Encourage caregivers to join in on resident exercise activities
- Stress the importance of getting enough sleep
Ways to Show Caregiver Appreciation
A genuine and sincere thank you can speak volumes to a caregiver. This can be a verbal or written thank you in order to show how much they are appreciated. Beyond that, there are other ways you can celebrate and show appreciation for the caregivers on your staff:
- You can fill gift bags with items such as body or hand lotion, scrubs, and a handheld massage roller ball.
- Provide a special catered meal for caregivers on all shifts
- Baked goods or fresh flowers at staff stations to show gratitude
- Gift cards in small amounts for each caregiver to local coffee shops or lunch spots
Another option is providing caregivers with educational materials to offer them more support or information on making their job easier by becoming more knowledgeable.