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    • #23200

        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?

      • #23216

          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.

          • #23287

              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.

          • #23282
            Ken Anderson

              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.

              • #23285

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

              • #23284
                Corrie Trattner

                  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,



                  • #23286

                      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.

                  • #23289
                    James Mortimer

                      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.

                      • #23290

                          Well said James.

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