• Caregiver fatigue

    Posted by ally on February 8, 2022 at 8:22 pm

    Feeling overwhelmed? Unsettled? Exhausted? Columnist Jo Gambosi gets it. She’s tired, too – not tired of being a caregiver, but tired as a caregiver.

    Find out what Jo means in this flash briefing.

    What are signs of caregiver fatigue for you? How do you take reduce your fatigue or take care of yourself so that you can continue to take care of your loved one?

    ally replied 7 months, 4 weeks ago 6 Members · 10 Replies
  • 10 Replies
  • royroberts

    February 10, 2022 at 7:02 pm

    For quite a while, I ignored the fact that I had Caregiver Fatigue. Not only was I working full time as a teacher and helping my husband with his newly diagnosed PD, I was also caring for my elderly parents. My dad passed away at age 94 and my mom a few years later at 96. I knew Roy’s difficulty with his PD symptoms were increasing and I planned to retire in June. However, the day I returned to work after handling the aftermath of my mom’s passing, Roy ended up in the hospital. I absolutely hated calling in for a substitute again! My school’s principal was so wonderful and had her secretary gently suggest that I retire 5 months earlier than I had planned. That night, alone in my home, I cried for hours. To leave my students and the other teachers in my department was not something I would have even considered. But, my principal, my friend could see something that I couldn’t recognize – and that was Caregiver’s Fatigue. I decided that I needed to retire earlier than planned for myself, an unusual response for me.
    That allowed me to see that I needed to take care of myself more so that I can be good for Roy. For a whole month, I slept between 12-14 hours.
    Now, when I am exhausted, I sleep! What a concept! Just stop doing and go to bed. I’m honest with Roy and let him know that he can wake me up if he needs me, but most times, he lets me be. He loves me and knows that I have to be rested to be a good caregiver. Plus, I am grumpy and can easily fly off the handle when I’m not rested. And no one wants me to get angry. Not a pretty sight!
    The other thing I do to combat Caregiver Fatigue is to lower my household cleanliness standard, for short periods. Earth will continue to spin even if my house isn’t perfectly organized and spotless. If I need a few minutes to just chill or to take and extra long walk with the dog, I do it and let the chores wait.

    • ally

      February 24, 2022 at 4:44 pm

      You were juggling a lot! Thank you for sharing your experience. I hope you can continue to prioritize rest and self-care. It’s so important and you deserve (and need) both.

  • ken-anderson

    February 23, 2022 at 2:12 pm

    Hi my name is Susan Anderson. I want to say thank you for this forum as I really needed to read what others in my same situation are doing to handle the fatigue and stress I feel. I learned not to long ago that I had to take time out for me so I can care for my husband. Thank you for being there.

    • ally

      February 24, 2022 at 4:41 pm

      Thank you for being part of this community, Susan. <3

  • corrie-trattner

    February 24, 2022 at 3:19 pm

    My husband passed away from Parkinson’s one year ago yesterday.  I couldn’t believe the level of exhaustion I had been carrying because I was still working full time, have no family in the area, and could not hire additional help due to COVID.  Luckily, my husband was in an assisted living facility, as I could no longer care for his physical needs.  For months following his death, I could not stop sleeping, crying, being angry, unable to deal with estate or financial issues, or even send thank you notes to all of the people who were so kind to me during this most stressful time.  Now that it’s a year later, I can’t believe that I’m not constantly falling asleep all of the time, although that still happens on occasion.  Two things that helped me with the stress and continue to do so are listening to books on tape or my phone, and writing about my feelings and what was happening.  Watching my dear husband decline was heart rendering and draining, but the journaling and listening to books did help.

    In his honor, I hope to help meet the emotional needs of caregivers.  If people have ideas about what they need or wished they had had, please let me know.

    Thanks and blessings to you all,



    • ally

      February 24, 2022 at 4:43 pm

      Corrie, my heart is with you as you grieve the loss of your husband. Anniversaries like the one you’re marking this week are hard. Thank you for sharing your experience. Your commitment to helping others in your husband’s honour is beautiful and I’m sure very much appreciated by all you meet.

  • james-mortimer

    February 25, 2022 at 3:41 am

    This is my third go; both scrapped because it felt like I was just feeling sorry for myself.

    The detachment from reality; the totally alien world to the one you inhabited; the loss of your previous existence and easy companionship; the bone-weary tiredness that’s always with you; the sheer hell of watching someone suffer, about which you can do nothing except shovel down pills and give comfort; the inevitability of it all; the absolute need to keep your temper despite the repetitive questions [when will I get better?]; worst of all, the guilt at having lost it before you knew what the problem was [instantly forgiven by the patient].

    It’s not really your fault you know.

    • keri

      February 25, 2022 at 8:07 am

      Well said James.

    • Ginni

      July 5, 2023 at 8:13 am

      This is the anguish. Detachment, alienation, extreme mental and physical exhaustion. I have always had a deep well of compassion, and a long history of being helpful in times of crisis. Now, after a dozen years, his complete unwillingness to do anything to help himself, and recent rapid decline, my well is dry. We live isolated from the world. And both of us inhabit separate realities. I frequently fall into a dark place, where even taking care of myself has become a problem. I know it’s not my fault that he has a terrible illness, but I feel like a kite struggling in the wind.

      • ally

        July 7, 2023 at 1:27 pm

        Oh Ginni,  I am so sorry. Your pain is real and I know you’re not alone in feeling the way you do – many caregivers can relate. It may feel like another ‘to do’ item on an already very long list, but is there anything you’re doing or could be doing to support yourself? I’m thinking of things like counselling, caregiver support groups, time away with your friends, hiring professional support so you can take more time to care for yourself. Are there any hobbies or activities that bring you joy that you can intentionally make more space for in your life so that you can recharge your body and soul?

  • kenneth

    June 28, 2023 at 12:56 pm

    ohhh thx for such a warm posts. Fatigue is okay. That is I always say to myself. I just try to do some yoga ( here is web site btw https://betterme.world/articles/chair-yoga-for-seniors/). That can really help me in some cases like to relax my mind and body and continue to help and give the enomerous amount of care I can. So this is me and my tip!

    • ally

      June 28, 2023 at 5:10 pm

      Thank you for sharing, Kenneth. Being physically active helps me too, and yoga has a wonderful way of helping me focus my thoughts and mind elsewhere which can also offer some much needed relief.

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