Caregiver fatigue can occur when caregivers don’t get the emotional, physical and financial help they need. They often lack the resources and skills necessary to effectively care for their loved one and still try to maintain their own life.
The demands of caregiving can often overwhelm a person’s emotional state leading to a state of fatigue and hopelessness. This can easily lead to burnout and an inability to function effectively.
Many times caregivers don’t realize they are burning themselves out. They are so focused on fulfilling their responsibilities they are unaware that they’re not taking care of themselves. It’s important to look for the symptoms before they take too great a toll.
The symptoms are often similar to the symptoms of stress and depression. Some of them are:
Changes in appetite, weight.
Changes in sleep patterns.
Lack of interest in activities, even friends and loved ones.
Feeling guilty at being angry at the person for whom you are caring.
More prone to becoming ill.
Constantly filled with negative thoughts.
Take a little time to do a reality check of yourself and identify if you have any of the symptoms. If you do, find a support group which can help you find resources to ease the burden. If you feel you have symptoms of depression, talk to you your doctor about treatment. It’s just as important to take care of yourself as much as your loved one.
JoAnn Polley is Creative Director of Caregiver Communications