As a family caregiver, you’ve heard of caregiver burnout. If you’re experiencing burnout, you’re probably tired, isolating yourself, and may even feel worthless. Compassion fatigue is another issue some family caregivers deal with, but they often mistake it for caregiver burnout. It’s different.
Compassion fatigue is easier to recover from, but it also builds slowly over time. By the time you realize there’s something wrong, you may find yourself dealing with too many of the common signs to know how to get help.
Signs of Compassion Fatigue
How can you identify compassion fatigue? Here’s a situation where compassion fatigue is identified.
A woman is the main caregiver for her mom. Her mom has Alzheimer’s and is angry and often takes out that anger on others. The woman realizes she is overdue for her doctor’s appointment, but she makes a “why bother” statement and goes on to say she’ll likely get Alzheimer’s anyway and can’t see that there’s any hope or point in living a long life when that’s the future. Loss of hope or sense of meaning is a key sign of compassion fatigue.
Other signs are:
- Difficulty falling or staying asleep
- Emotional outbursts
- Lack of self-esteem or feelings of worthiness
- Anger towards the disease or person receiving care
- Detachment from others and favorite activities
What Do You Do if You Suspect You Have Compassion Fatigue?
If you feel you might be experiencing compassion fatigue while caring for a parent with a chronic health condition, get help. Join a support group, take breaks from your responsibilities as a family caregiver, and learn techniques to ease stress. Home care is important to make sure you’re able to distance yourself.
Make sure you’re getting enough sleep. Insomnia can make this hard. Create a schedule that makes it a little easier. Go to bed at the same hour and lay down and read for an hour. After the hour is up, turn on white noise like a fan, close your eyes, and start meditating.
Mindfulness helps here. Imagine you’re in your favorite place and start thinking out how it feels, smells, and sounds. As your mind focuses on those details and not the disease or health conditions your parents face, you may find yourself drifting off to sleep.
If it doesn’t work and you’re struggling to fall asleep, get up. Don’t force it as that builds anxiety and frustration. Instead, read for another hour or so. If you find yourself getting sleepy while reading, stop and try again.
With home care services, your parents have caregivers helping them out. You’re able to take breaks and distance yourself from their daily care. If you’re experiencing compassion fatigue, you need to focus on your mental, emotional, and physical health. Let home care aides take care of the rest.
If you or an aging loved one is considering home care in Old Bridge, NJ, please contact the caring staff at Care Street Home Care today. Call (732) 607-8870.