When family or friends must care for a loved one, symptoms of chronic stress are likely to appear. The caregiver can suffer emotionally and physically from the loving care they’re providing to someone else. This common problem called compassion fatigue is a term given to caregivers who might be helping someone injured, ill or traumatized. Caregivers usually have the best intentions as they’re trying to help, but someone who is elderly, ill, or incapacitated can be an overwhelming burden on one’s mental, physical and emotional abilities.
Compassion fatigue is considered similar to burnout, but compassion fatigue is more unpredictable in its onset. Burnout usually takes a longer time to emerge whereas symptoms of compassion fatigue can arrive suddenly. Burnout can be so severe that someone experiencing it will even find it necessary to leave a job, or even an occupation entirely. With compassion fatigue, someone can typically be treated much more easily, but there are specific things one must do for self-care while providing care for a loved one.
It’s mandatory to rejuvenate between caregiving shifts. Compassion fatigue may create intense emotional pain, and physical fatigue, so caregivers need to watch for symptoms and then learn the tools to manage the stress in a healthy way. If you’re proving care for a parent, friend or loved one, ask for assistance before things get too hard on you.
Feelings of inequity toward the caregiver relationship
Loss of meaning in caregiving
Withdrawal, isolation, or feelings of being disconnected
Apathy or a lower threshold for compassion or empathy
Problems arising in other relationships
Destructive behaviors or substance abuse
Anger, irritability, anxiety
Chronic exhaustion (emotional and/or physical
Feelings of dread, impending disaster or guilt
You probably have deep feelings for the one you care for, but sometimes that’s not enough to prevent compassion fatigue. Comfort Keepers® understands how demanding caring for a loved one can be. We can provide respite care, caregiving services, and senior care services for you, your parent, or friend in need. Get the help you need so you can also take care of yourself. Contact us today and talk to one of our experts about our home care that is available to you and your loved one.
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