What is the Caregiver Fatigue Problem?

At some point, you, like me, have been faced with having to give the best care of our loved ones when they get sick or suffer from long-term illness. We give them all our love, affection, and concern, in all the three forms – physical, mental as well as emotional. But why do we do that? The answer is simple – because we CARE! However, during this phase of taking care of our loved ones, we often fail to look after ourselves. We often ignore our own desires or even routine-activities that we perform to keep ourselves going. This results in the Caregiver Fatigue Problem.

“There are only four kinds of people in the world.
Those who have been caregivers.
Those who are currently caregivers.
Those who will be caregivers, and those who will need a caregiver.”
― Rosalyn Carter

Caring for others is one of the most beautiful qualities that a person can develop. If you are one of the many nurses or caregivers who daily support others, whether it be physically, emotionally, or in one of the many other ways that you give care, you should take heart.  You are part of a group that comes from every class, culture, and country.  You are the caregivers that support us and our loved ones when we need help the most.   This website is dedicated to YOU and for all those experiencing caregiver fatigue!

“It is not how much you do, but how much love you put in the doing.”

— Mother Theresa

The Problem Caregivers Face

Unfortunately, many caregivers find themselves in a situation where they are overworked; physically and emotional drained from giving of their resources all day.  Some feel that they are unappreciated, some feel guilt and may even direct anger at the people to whom they care for.

This content is part of our Compassion Fatigue Course:

Check out Caregiver Fatigue

Check out Caregiver Fatigue Problem

Check out Compassion Fatigue Definition

Check out Compassion Fatigue vs Burnout

If you feel tired from giving constant care, you are not alone.  Many caregivers suffer from one type of caregiving fatigue problem or another.  The longer this problem is ignored, the worse it can get.  Caregiver fatigue, if left unchecked, can even lead to caregiver burnout or serious depression.

Imagine not being able to get up in the morning because you are physically burnt out.  Or imagine feeling suicidal because you are depressed.  Burnout and chronic depression can last for months or even years.  You may find it hard to recover.  Rather than ignoring the symptoms, it is better to start being a better ‘Manager’ of your situation now, so you can recover quickly and take back control of your life by following proactive, positive steps that lead to a better YOU – a better Caregiver!

You are needed… You are essential to the well-being of your care recipients!

But you must take care of you first!

There are 3 Stages that lead to Caregiver Burnout, and Caregiver Fatigue is one of them.

Caregiver Fatigue

“In most families, care-giving becomes the woman’s responsibility. While care-giving can enrich you, it can also deplete you if you don’t have support or make time for self-care.”
― Kathleen A. Kendall-Tackett

What Type of Caregiver Fatigue Problem do you Suffer from?

As you look at the picture above, you may wonder if you are experiencing Caregiver Fatigue.  Have you suffered from any of the following symptoms recently?

Symptoms of caregiver fatigue:

  • Withdrawal from friends and family.
  • Losing interest in something that you once considered your passion.
  • Constant feeling of hopelessness, helplessness and anxiety.
  • Changes in the sleep cycle.
  • Changes in weight, appetite or both.
  • Feeling of frequent sickness.
  • Emotional as well as physical exhaustion.
  • Irritability.

The Different Types of Caregiver Fatigue

Compassion Fatigue is an emotional state experienced by those helping people or animals in distress; it is an extreme state of tension and preoccupation with the suffering of those being helped, to the degree that it can create secondary traumatic stress experienced by the helper.

Caregiver stress is a condition of exhaustion, anger, rage, or guilt that results from unrelieved caring for a chronically ill dependent.

Caregiver burden is the stress which is perceived by untrained caregivers due to the home care situation.

Caregiver fatigue problem is a condition of physical exhaustion that results from unrelieved caring for a chronically ill dependents or family members.

“I believe that most caregivers find that they inherit a situation where they just kind of move into caregiving. It’s not a conscious decision for most caregivers, and they are ultimately left with the responsibility of working while still trying to be the caregiver, the provider, and the nurturer”
― Peggi Speers

Caregiver burnout is a state of physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion that may be accompanied by a change in attitude — from positive and caring to negative and unconcerned and stems from your caregiving role in your job. When the demands of your care recipient’s health increase so much so that you have to increase your support to the neglect of your own health, then caregiver depression is more likely to develop.

Caregiver depression is when you develop feelings of sadness, anger and loneliness which result in negative thoughts over a longer period of time.  Symptoms include a change to sleep pattern, change to weight, inability to motivate yourself and mood swings.  Depression stems from a variety of factors such as your job, your family, your finance, and health.

For example, imagine being an unpaid caregiver living in your care recipients home and feeling financially or emotionally trapped so that you can’t even contemplate asking for the support you and your care recipient needs.  You may have feelings of being trapped, being overwhelmed and that there is no way out, which can lead to chronic depression.

What Can You Do to Avoid Caregiver Depression?

There are many great articles on this website written just for YOU.

Take time out to share your feelings with a trusted friend who is not part of your caregiving support group for your care recipient.  Sometimes, it is good to get a different viewpoint on the situation you face.

“My caregiver mantra is to remember: the only control you have is over the changes you choose to make.”
― Nancy L. Kriseman

Buy back “ME TIME” by arranging for another person to care for your care recipient while you get the needed rest, or organizational time that will make a big difference in how you push forward.  While you may just need to spend time on a personal hobby or chilling out in front of the TV, if you have a problem that needs to be solved – do not procrastinate…  Face the problem – Solve it – and Take the needed steps to accomplish the activities that you decide must be taken to manage your life and your care recipient’s life in a better, more beneficial way.

Above all, take action today – because you are worth it!

Learn more about Signs of Stress


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