Compassion Fatigue: Are You at Risk?
Some 78 million people in the United States dedicate themselves to caring for a family member in need. All during November, we will celebrate the wonderful things they do in National Caregivers Month..
Unfortunately, though, their loving efforts can put family caregivers at risk for what is called “compassion fatigue. ” Compassion fatigue is the moral exhaustion and physical withdrawal experienced by those who care for sick people over an extended period of time .https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/compassion%20fatigue
The organization Caregiving in the United States reported 23 percent of those doing caregiving for their family member for five years or more said their health was poor. https://www.caregiving.org/caregiving-in-the-us-2020/When we give so much of ourselves, we have little left. The compassion we once had is gone. Symptoms include anxiety, depression, anger, and a feeling of being overwhelmed.
It’s Time to Praise Caregiver Efforts, and Minimize Compassion Fatigue
How does compassion fatigue happen? The repetitive nature of work makes family caregivers especially susceptible to compassion fatigue. The sounds, sights and smells can blur into each other on a daily basis. The feeding, the dispensing of medications, the bathing, and dealing with behaviors can leave the caregiver weary. Over time, caregivers can become sick. Very sick.
Ways to Combat Combat Compassion Fatigue
Compassion fatigue cannot be eliminated, but it can be managed says Jane Barton, https://cardinalife.com/aboutmotivational speaker and writer on aging issues. The key to moving toward wellness is to create an individual plan which is doable and includes activities that the person loves. Walking around the block, focusing on eating at least two nutritious meals, joining a support group, and having a daily quiet time are all distinct possibilities. One key is regularity, penciling in time every day for wellness.
This post was excerpted from Alice Kalso’s new book,, Elder Care SOS: Facing Hard Choices With Hope