27 Mar April 2021 – Case Managers
Recognizing Caregiver Fatigue
What is Caregiver Fatigue?
Caregiver fatigue, also referred to as caregiver burnout, is a condition in which a caregiver feels physically, emotionally and psychologically exhausted which can lead to changes in attitude.
What causes Caregiver Fatigue?
When a person is focusing most or all of their energy on caring for someone, they often are not taking care of themselves. They may experience negative thought patterns that contribute to this condition. Negative thoughts can then turn into resentment and fatigue. Here are some factors that contribute to caregiver fatigue:
Role strain or role confusion is when someone takes on a second role as a caregiver. For example, when a spouse begins caregiving for their partner. In this situation, caregiving often takes the lead and the person struggles to identify with their original role such as a wife feeling like she isn’t a wife anymore.
Unreasonable demands from the person they are caring for or family members. Exhaustion can play a part in a caregiver feeling like they should be able to meet all of the demands being made.
Unrealistic expectations can be difficult for caregivers to accept the fact that the person they are caring for may not live, despite their efforts.
Lack of control of the situation or resources available such as lack of money to get more help.
What does Caregiver Fatigue look like?
Caregiver fatigue looks different for everyone. Often times symptoms will resemble depression. Some other common symptoms include:
¨ Withdrawal from friends, family, regular activities.
¨ Lack of motivation towards job or tasks.
¨ Increased use of alcohol or drugs. This could include sleeping pills or prescription drugs.
¨ Missing appointments or forgetting things.
¨ Sleep issues such as not being able to fall or stay asleep.
¨ Feelings of hopelessness, alienation, helplessness, depression, irritability or resentment.
¨ Negativity towards their job and responsibilities.
How can we avoid Caregiver Fatigue?
Self-neglect is one of the biggest causes of caregiver fatigue. Self-advocacy and being proactive both play a big part of avoiding caregiver fatigue. Here are a few things to consider:
¨ Ask for help. You don’t have to do it alone.
¨ Consider respite care. There are public and private options to consider. Take time off and don’t feel guilty.
¨ Speak up. If you are feeling overwhelmed don’t assume anyone recognizes it. If you need help or a break, let someone know. Talk to someone you trust.
¨ Prioritize relationships. Keep in touch with friends.
¨ Take care of yourself. Eat well, rest and exercise.
¨ Find a support group for caregivers. This will give you an opportunity to share experiences and resources.
¨ Explore optimism. This is hard to do! Sometimes thinking positively and making sure your inner voice is doing he same can make a difference.
How can we support Caregivers?
Above all, be a good listener, hold back the urge to offer advice and instead offer ongoing help. This may be difficult if the person says they don’t need help. Consider one or more suggestions listed on page 16.
Hello Spring! April showers bring May flowers…and boy do we need some flowers this year! I’m looking forward to a beautiful spring here in Wisconsin. I’m also looking forward to all of the amazing programs we are offering this month!
Be well, Julie Larson, Case Manager
What makes you happy? I find I am most happy spending time with my family and of course being a grandma to Olivia. But if we are being honest, how many of us find that on some days, it is almost impossible to find anything to be happy about? The struggle is real and I feel it too. Many of us are feeling emotions that we’ve never had before and happiness doesn’t even seem within our scope of reach. But as we make our way back into normalcy (or a new normal, eventually), I encourage you to find at least one thing that will bring you happiness everyday. Sit down, make a list of the little things that you can do to improve your happiness and get started! Here are a few ideas to get your juices flowing!
- Turn on your favorite music, turn it up loud, sing, dance, play the air guitar; just have fun. Heck, invite over some friends for a dance party!
- Re-experience something that made you happy in the past. Re-read an old favorite book, or re-watch a movie that made you laugh.
- Visit a place that brings back good memories, like a favorite walking trail, take a stroll through the zoo or the arboretum.
- Leave a random note for a neighbor to find, just to cheer up their day. It will cheer you up too!
- Call a friend and reminisce about old memories. Chances are, they would love to talk too!
- ALWAYS remember that tomorrow is another day.
Happy 1st Birthday, Olivia! What a year its been. Olivia has taught me how to love in ways I never knew possible, and being her grandma has filled my heart with pure joy. Thank you for following us through Olivia’s first year journey, and for all of the sweet comments and responses you provided while watching her grow. Becky
It is with mixed emotions that I share with you, I left my position here at the Verona Senior Center as of March 26th. As some of you know, I went back to school a couple years ago to pursue my bachelors degree and I will complete it in June 2021. Yay, I’m almost done!! I can do hard things and so can you.
The friendships and experiences the Senior Center has provided to me over this past 8 years are ones that I will never forget, thank you for being part of that.
Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver, the other gold – Joseph Parry