Although caring for your elderly friend or loved one can be fulfilling, sometimes, all the stressors associated with the additional workload can leave you feeling overwhelmed. Unless you address these feelings, your relationship will begin suffering, your state of mind and health may begin to deteriorate, which eventually leads to care-giving fatigue.
Caregiver Stress is usually a Chronic, Long-Term Challenge
Anyone facing years or decades of care giving responsibilities may find themselves feeling disheartened, especially if a friend or family member’s condition is expected to continue deteriorating. Without the help and support you need, you become susceptible to a variety of emotional and physical problems including depression and heart disease. On many occasions, a caregiver is so busy taking care of others that he or she neglects to take care of their own emotional and physical health.
Common Causes of Care-Giving Fatigue
- Role confusion – you may have difficulty separating yourself from your role before you became a caregiver (child, spouse, friend, etc.).
- Unrealistic expectations – ideally, you want your involvement to positively affect the happiness and health of your friend or loved one; while every situation is unique, this may be unrealistic.
- Irrational demands – you may place unreasonable demands upon yourself because you feel ultimately responsible for the total care of your friend or loved one.
- Feeling out of control – you may become frustrated due to your inability to effectively plan, organize and manage his or her care.
Symptoms of Care-Giving Fatigue
Many caregivers are unaware they are suffering with caregiver fatigue. Recognizing and addressing this issue is essential for both the loved one being cared for and the caregiver. The first step in dealing with care-giving fatigue is to identify the problem.
- You feel hopeless, helpless and/or sad
- You are having difficulty sleeping
- You are irritable
- You are having difficulty concentrating
Lifestyle changes –
- You notice an increase in your alcohol consumption
- You are smoking more
- You are experiencing changes in your appetite, weight or both
Resentment – even though your life revolves around caring for your friend or loved one, you receive very little satisfaction and may find yourself actually resenting the individual you care for
Neglecting responsibilities – you begin neglecting your needs because you just do not care anymore or you are too busy caring for your loved one
Overreaction to minor nuisances – you increasingly become inpatient and irritable with your loved one
New/Worsening health issues – you catch every illness that is going around (flu and colds, etc.)
Feeling run down – you constantly feel exhausted or you feel less energetic than usual
Avoiding participation – you avoid leisurely activities that you previously enjoyed and withdraw from your friends and family
Anxiety – you have difficulty relaxing even when you have help caring for your loved one
Feeling stressed and burned out hurts you and your loved one. You need to take the time to manage the stressors in your own life. Never consider taking a break to recharge a luxury because it is not, it is a necessity.
At Georgetown Home Care, we have warmhearted, experienced staff members who dedicate themselves to caring for our elderly clients. Because studies indicate that seniors do better when they can continue residing in their own home, our goal is to keep your loved one living in his or her National Capital Region home for as long as possible. Contact Georgetown Home Care today so we can help you care for the seniors you love.