Caregiver Fatigue, Guilt and Anxiety
This week we welcome guest blogger, Mark Hall, a writer for the Mesothelioma Center. Whether caring for a parent with Alzheimer’s or caring for a loved one with cancer – the issues, burdens and emotions are the same.
Here are some tips to help you (the caregiver) take care of you:
Caring for an ill or disabled family member can be a daunting task. It can take a physical and emotional toll on the caregiver.
Fatigue, guilt and anxiety are common feelings that a primary caregiver may experience. Understanding what causes these feelings, in addition to learning ways to prevent, can improve the quality of life for a caregiver.
Beyond learning about the causes and ways to prevent fatigue and related symptoms, it is important to understand that resources exist to help caregivers throughout this process. Acknowledging the need for help is part of identifying that you may be going through caregiver burnout.
What Is Caregiver Burnout?
According to experts, caregiver burnout is classified as the condition of mental, physical or emotional fatigue that often results from caring for a sick or disabled loved one. This exhaustion happens when caregivers don’t receive the care that they need themselves.
Symptoms of caregiver burnout include:
- Loss of interest in normal activities
- Changes in eating habits and weight
- Less interaction with family and friends
- Unusual sleeping patterns
- Getting ill more frequently
- Wanting to harm yourself or the patient
- Overall unhappiness
Feelings of anger and guilt may also stem from the caregiver feeling bad about wanting to spend time on themselves instead of their ill family member. This is common and rational. There are various ways to prevent these feelings and all the symptoms associated with caregiver burnout.
How to Prevent Caregiver Burnout
Despite the normalcy associated with caregiver fatigue and guilt, it can be prevented. If you are the primary caregiver, the most important and general action you can take is to take care of yourself. You will not be an effective caregiver if you don’t feel good.
At the beginning of your caregiving responsibilities – or, ideally before you begin providing care – research and educate yourself on the disease or condition of the person you are caring for. Understand what they are going through, what side effects are common and what you should expect of that type of patient. For more information please visitwww.asbestos.com
You need to take occasional breaks to give yourself time to relax and recharge. Don’t overwork yourself because then you will become ineffective. Delegating responsibilities to other family members and friends can also help relieve some stress. Allow them to take a role in the caregiving process as well.
Joining a Support Group
As a caregiver, you can benefit tremendously from available resources like support groups. Connecting with individuals who are going through the same difficulties as you will prove to be inspiring, encouraging and relieving.
To find a support group, get a recommendation from a local doctor or specialist or utilize informational tools like the internet. This can be one of the best decisions a caregiver can make for themselves and for the people they are caring for.
Bio: Mark Hall is a writer for the Mesothelioma Center. Between his interests in environmental health and his writing experiences, Mark has committed to communicating relevant news and information regarding the dangers of asbestos exposure and breakthroughs in mesothelioma treatments.