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Compassion Fatigue, Caregiver Burnout

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Causes and nature of Compassion fatigue and caregiver burnout

Most individual’s caregivers accept their new role as caregiver with a sense of Idealism, hope and eagerness to do well. As time goes on fatigue may set in, disappointments and frustrations can and do occur. In today’s society caregiver fatigue cannot be understated. According to Webster’s dictionary, fatigue means “physical or mental exhaustion; weariness.” An individual in the family who provide care to another family members is susceptible to caregiver fatigue whether they are providing care twenty-four hours a day or caregiving from a distance. Young people particular challenges as they attempt to provide care to elderly parents while managing the demands of young families and careers which are more demanding.

Whether caregivers are losing actual sleep or simply wearing down from the constant worry and obligations, help is needed before feelings of resentment and guilt set in or the caregivers’ health is compromised.

There is need to recognize the signs of caregiver fatigue and stress. Neglect of compassion fatigue can negatively affect their health, well-being and your ability to provide care. In extreme cases, it can lead to inadequate care or even verbal and physical abuse of the care receiver. Caregiver fatigue and stress can be managed so as to can preserve or improve your physical and emotional well-being.

 

As a family caregiver, one may experience compassion fatigue which if not addressed in time can lead to a caregiver burnout. Caregivers may believe that you cannot do enough for the loved one they are caring for.

Some may also be angry because your efforts go unappreciated and unrecognized by other family member or the community around. To some, perhaps they do not get help and support from other family members.

Many caregivers have to sacrifice their time because of the demands of the care receiver, not to mention their physical and mental health. Like many caregivers, some individuals were thrust into this role without much preparation or planning. The matter is worsened because more often than not they are dealing with individuals that they are close to and this wears them out.

Physical, emotional and spiritual needs of the caregiver

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Caregiving for another individual can be satisfying, but sometimes it can be exhausting and thankless job. Caregivers often sacrifice their leisure time, their vacations and even their privacy. Numerous burdens from family, jobs and the person for whom caregivers leaves little time for a caregiver. Too often caregivers disregard their own health and wellbeing and in the end put their own needs on the back stage. But As much as the caregiver strive to provide the needs of the loved ones, they also must be responsible for their own self-care.
Sleep is absolutely necessary to live; however, it is often a low priority in the whole caregiver scenario. As an adult, our bodies need six to nine hours of sleep and after age 65, we need six to eight hours per night. The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) likens the need for caregivers to take care of themselves to performing regular maintenance on a car. Devoid of regular attention, even the finest cars and caregivers will soon weaken. Therefor a caregiver must have enough rest.  This will ensure that they discharge the caregiving roles effectively.
Dwyer (2006) argues that caregivers, as well as care receivers, need a well-balanced diet and adequate hydration during the day. This will ensure they are not experience fatigue and at the same time ensure they have good health. A variety of meals reach in proteins, grains and fresh produce and decreasing sugar, caffeine, and alcohol can also promote wellness. Often, stimulants such as caffeine affect sleep and thus discouraged. Alcohol is a depressant by classification; however, it does cause an individual to sleep lighter and awaken more frequently.

Relaxation is typically an activity in a caregiver can engage to cope with stress. Relaxation exercises are useful techniques to help relieve tension, decrease worry, improve sleep, and make you feel generally more at ease. These exercises use physical and mental activities, which focus attention on calming the body and mind, creating feelings of comfort.

Caregivers need understanding and compassion from the family members and the community around them. This makes them feel appreciated and valued for their time, sacrifice and diligence.

Time spent with friends or family members can be very uplifting to the caregiver. This provides a means of loosening up. This makes them have stamina and steadfastness in executing the caregiving roles.

Coping strategies and resources for help and hope for the caregiver

A caregiver should pay attention to their stress levels. Stay tuned in with their feelings and changes in attitude, as these are often early warning signs of potential personal problems. When helping a loved one who is unwell, there is need to monitor one’s own “caregiver stress” and negative feelings.

Meet your physical needs. A caregiver ought to eat properly, exercise, get sufficient rest, and include relaxation and recreation in their schedule. Staying healthy and balanced ensure they provide health and balance. Staying physically healthy is a great way to deal with caregiver stress.

 

Caregivers should be honest with one especially in situations where one is longer physically or emotionally able to cater for the demands of care receiver are very imperative. This will ensure that one calls for help when need arise.

Caregivers should not be overwhelmed with the feeling of guiltiness; the situation is not their fault. Caregivers need to be willing to deal with feelings of grief and loss of a lifestyle that is no longer available to you, and you may have to deal with feelings of anger toward their loved ones due to the way things are of as a result of a loss of life style.

Take care of yourself. If you as the care provider become ill, you’ve crushed the entire purpose of the caregiving plan. A caregiver has to learn to jealously guard his personal time, and be willing to seek help whether in the family or outsiders, to step in and help with the caregiving tasks.

Despite the fact that caregivers may sometimes be unappreciated in their work, they should always give credit to themselves. They should accept that they are doing their best to help their loved ones. This will ensure that they renew their hope as well as work toward providing for the needs of their loved ones even in the presence of all challenges. By this they will be in a position to sustain their daily lives amid compassion fatigue and in the end evade caregiver burnout.

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