When I speak with family caregivers, especially in support groups, they often equate burnout with failure. Never mind the ramifications that burning out can have on a caregiver's health and well-being.
Act from love, not from a sense of debt. If you think of caring for an aging loved one as repayment for all he or she's done for you, you'll always end up in the red. Instead, think of caregiving as one person helping another out of love.
In the classic children's story from the Brothers Grimm, a beautiful princess sleeps her way to an enchanting life with a handsome prince. If it were only that easy. For many of the nation's 65 million family caregivers, sleep is an elusive luxury and a true fairy tale.
Remember the oxygen mask and get your needs taken care of first. Take exquisite care of yourself as the foundation for taking care of others. This is the only way you can be emotionally available for your patients and your family and avoid even deeper levels of burnout.