Supporting a loved one that needs help sounds like a natural (and kind) inclination; however, several months or years of care may take their toll on your health.
Prolonged stressful care giving can lead to physical, emotional, and spiritual exhaustion, a type of burnout referred to as “Compassion Fatigue.”
Compassion fatigue is defined as:
A state of tension and preoccupation with the individual or cumulative trauma of clients as manifested in one or more ways (comparable to PTSD).
Ann Mehl, a certified coach specializing in life and career transitions at the Boston College Alumni House shares her story of how she cared for her mother who had suffered from Dementia and offers useful tools and self-care strategies to assist caregivers.
Signs of the need to recharge:
• Reduced Productivity
• Difficulty Sleeping
• Difficulty Concentrating
• Not eating healthy foods
Tips on how to cope with Compassion Fatigue:
Replenish the Well
Do something for yourself every day, even if it is just sitting quietly for five minutes alone without any distractions.
Sharing the load of care giving can require some planning and delegation, whether it is asking a family member for help and/or working with a professional Home Care agency.
Take off your Caregiver Hat
Leave the caregiver environment whenever possible to stay in touch with the outside world.
Accept the Moment
Let go of trying to fix things; sometimes situations can be nearly impossible to fix; focus on being there for your loved one.
We recommend: "Address Caregiver Stress before you are a mess"
Check out these articles for more information:
- Self Care Tips for the Caregiver of an Ill Loved One: Link to Article
- Receiving Care when you are a caregiver, Whole living Magazine: Link to Article
- Things to remember when they forget: Link to Article
- Remembering The Last Act: Link to Article
- Ann Mehl, Certified Life & Career Coach: Link to Webpage
- Caregiver Confessions: "When You're In Over Your Head."
- Marketwatch "Caregivers play a crucial role."
care•giv•er (kâr g v r)
1. An individual, such as a physician, nurse, or social worker, who assists in the identification, prevention, or treatment of an illness or disability.
2. An individual, such as a parent, foster parent, or head of a household, who attends to the needs of a child or dependent adult.