Most caregivers experience times when the fatigue and frustration of providing care for a loved one can border on burnout. Even though I’ve handled caring for multiple elders and their unique needs reasonably well, there have been moments when I’ve wondered how much longer I could keep it up. Those times have come dangerously close to burnout, but I have always gotten through them with a focus on faith, respite, and self-care. After my caregiving days ended, however, I learned that there is another stage that is more severe than burnout—one that can be extremely scary. Many caregivers have told me over the years that they felt they had progressed beyond burnout, and it is important to understand that there is a term for this feeling: compassion fatigue.
Support a caregiver or jump-start discussion in support groups with real stories - for bulk orders of Minding Our Elders e-mail Carol