Caregiver burnout is a gradual process that results from feeling overwhelmed by the constant stress of caregiving responsibilities taking priority over personal commitments and desires. Caregiver stress is common, especially in the Asian American community. According to the AARP and NAC Caregiving in the US Report (2020), nearly 40 percent of family caregivers feel high levels of emotional stress, and an additional 28% feel moderate levels of emotional stress, with Asian Americans reporting high levels of stress more often than other groups (AARP and NAC, 2020). Each caregiving situation is unique which makes everyone’s experience of burnout different.

In the Japanese American and Japanese community, people may often find it difficult to ask for help. Cultural values such as enryo (refraining or restraining) and gaman (enduring) have ingrained qualities like resilience and independence in Our Community. While these cultural principles are important, it is just as important to recognize when asking for help is necessary.

What is Caregiver Burnout?

Caregiver burnout is defined as a state of physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion that can happen when a caregiver dedicates too much time and energy to manage the health and safety of their care recipient(s), impacting their health physically, psychologically, financially, and socially (Cleveland Clinic, 2023). This can be due to wanting to put the needs of their care recipient first, and therefore being unable to take care of themselves.

silhouette of person sitting at table stressed with hands on face

Noticing and identifying potential symptoms of caregiver burnout early can help caregivers proactively take steps to minimize the negative effects. This will allow caregivers to continue providing quality care to their care recipient, while remaining healthy and well in the long run.

Signs of Caregiver Burnout

Caregiver burnout typically happens gradually, and some caregivers are unaware that they may be developing this condition. As such, knowing early symptoms can help caregivers identify signs of burnout before it becomes a bigger problem. Symptoms can be physical, emotional, or mental. Caregiver burnout may cause exhaustion, troubled sleep, and/or anxiety and depression, which can increase the risk of developing more chronic conditions such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, or arthritis (NCOA, 2022).

Overcoming Caregiver Burnout

While caregiver burnout may present challenges, there are ways to lessen or even overcome its impact.

The following are strategies that can help to relax and find a balance between responsibilities as a caregiver and personal life (NIA, 2023):

  • Make time for self-care. It is important that caregivers allow themselves to do things that refuel or energize them. It is not selfish for caregivers to take the time needed to recharge to provide the best possible care for their loved one. This can be done by:
    • Engaging in reflective activities that the caregiver enjoys such as meditation, journaling, coloring, drawing, gardening, or listening to music.Making time for daily exercise such as yoga, tai chi, aerobics, dancing, or even a short walk can help to improve one’s wellbeing.
    • Setting boundaries to protect one’s physical, emotional, and mental health. Examples may be caregivers asking themselves questions like, “What can I reasonably do?” or “What am I unable to do” followed by delegating care tasks (AARP, 2023).
  • Ask for and accept help from others. Asking for help as a caregiver is not a sign of weakness. Though it may feel difficult or unfamiliar initially, caregivers may need to practice saying “yes” when offered help from friends and family who will be able to support them through their journey.
  • Find support with other caregivers. Meeting and talking to other caregivers through support groups or caregiver events can help caregivers feel less alone in their struggles and think through solutions to mutually understood problems together.
  • Consider reaching out to a mental health professional. Counseling, mental health, and therapy services can help provide self-care strategies to process the difficult emotions that caregivers may be experiencing.
  • Consider respite care and resources. Respite care can be scheduled to offer a temporary break in caregiver duties for a few hours, a few days, or several weeks at a time. This can happen in various settings such as in a health care facility, through adult day services or community meal or food programs. Long term care options including home care, and assisted living facilities, can also serve as useful resources for help with caregiving responsibilities.

This fact sheet is for informational purposes and not a substitute for mental health advice.


AARP. (2023). How to Avoid Caregiver Burnout.

AARP and National Alliance for Caregiving. (2020). Caregiving in the U.S. 2020. AARP.

Cleveland Clinic. (2023). Caregiver Burnout. Retrieved from,and%20using%20respite%20care%20services.

Family Caregiver Alliance., & Family Caregiver Alliance and reviewed by Beth MacLeod, L. C. S. W. (LCSW). (n.d.). Taking care of you: Self-care for family caregivers. Taking Care of YOU: Self-Care for Family Caregivers – Family Caregiver Alliance.

NCOA National Council on Aging. (2022). Caregiver Stress: The Impact on Physical Health. The National Council on Aging.

NIA. (2023). Taking care of yourself: Tips for caregivers | National Institute on Aging.