Caregiver fatigue, also known as caregiver exhaustion, is a state of physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion that can occur when a person is providing care for a loved one. It is often accompanied by a change in attitude, from positive and affectionate to negative and carefree. Burnout can occur when caregivers don't get the help they need or if they try to do more than they can, physically or financially. The likely outcome or consequence for a caregiver who doesn't care for himself is exhaustion.
Exhaustion is a state of emotional exhaustion that results from failure, exhaustion, or a feeling of total exhaustion due to excessive demand for energy, strength or resources. For this reason, caregiver exhaustion can be detrimental to both the person receiving care and the caregiver. In the survey by the National Alliance for Caregiver Care and the AARP Public Policy Institute, 40 percent of caregivers felt emotionally stressed, nearly 20 percent said it was causing them financial problems, and about 20 percent felt physically exhausted. A large study published in the Journals of Gerontology found that caregivers who felt they were under a lot of pressure had worse health outcomes compared to caregivers who felt little or no effort.
It is important for caregivers to practice self-care habits in order to avoid caregiver fatigue syndrome. Self-care habits include getting enough sleep, eating healthy meals, exercising regularly, taking breaks from caregiving duties, and seeking help from family and friends. Additionally, it is important for caregivers to recognize signs of caregiver fatigue such as feeling overwhelmed, irritable, anxious, or depressed. If these signs are present, it is important to seek professional help from a doctor or therapist.
Caregivers should also make sure to take time for themselves and do activities that bring them joy. This could include going for walks in nature, reading a book, listening to music, or spending time with friends and family. Taking time for yourself can help reduce stress levels and improve overall wellbeing. Caregiver fatigue syndrome can be difficult to manage but with proper self-care habits and support from family and friends it can be managed effectively.
It is important for caregivers to recognize the signs of caregiver fatigue and take steps to prevent it from occurring in the first place.