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Caregiver Burnout?

Updated on July 3, 2011

If accountants don’t grow old but simply lose their balance;and lawyers never grow old, they just lose their appeal; and doctors don’t grow old they just lose their patience; and if old blonds never fade away, they simply dye away then what happens to caregivers? Caregivers don’t grow old, they simply stop caring – and the person they stop caring for is themselves!

I remember and I am sure many of you do too when my definition of burnout was putting my foot to the floor in my dad's car. Oh I remember well the time when burnout meant going fast, laying down rubber, not a care in the world. Those were "the good old days" before life slowed me down and handed me an entirely new definition of burnout - Caregiver Burnout!

You Know You've Been A Caregiver Too Long When.....

Caregiver Burnout

You know you have been a caregiver for too long when:

- You take a rare moment to look in the mirror and see Cousin Itt looking back at you.

- Your idea of a catered dinner is the week’s worth of frozen meals delivered to your door.

- You actually find yourself talking to telephone solicitors

- Your idea of a “social life” is Facebook

- You can tell that you’ve been wearing the same pants for too long because when you take them off and they stand up by themselves

- Your old idea of “freshening up” is your new idea of a wash

- You hit so many stops that you find it amazing that you ever thought bumper cars were fun

- Your idea of a picnic is grabbing a burger on the way home from a quick trip to the pharmacy

- Your idea of a shopping spree is hitting the dollar store for more plastic baskets to keep supplies and meds in

- A ten minute shower feels like a day at the beach

- The paramedic asks you, while your husband is in the midst of having a heart attack, if the random, spastic movements in his left arm are normal and you find yourself answering, “Yes.”

- Your idea of a break is sitting on the toilet

- Your idea of a gift is….well, you really don’t have an idea of a gift anymore

- Your home has more medical supplies and aids in it than furniture

- You spend any free time you have sleeping

- It’s dinnertime and you realize you haven’t had breakfast…or lunch

- Your idea of a visitor is the delivery person

- You find yourself trying to put laundry in the dishwasher

- You empty the dishwasher in one go and consider it an accomplishment

- Your idea of gardening is trying to resuscitate the damn plant somebody gave you

- You know that you cannot afford to get sick but you often feel ill at ease

- Getting a good deal on tissues is a win

- The respite worker is your BBF

- The sun hurts your eyes when you take the garbage out

- Your idea of a new outfit is putting on a fresh shirt

- You laugh when someone asks you, “What’s new?”

- You laugh when your loved one is in the hospital, yet again, and someone says, “Now you’ll have a chance to take a break.

- You wonder if a caregiver cries and there is no one there to hear, are you really a tree and if so, who moved the forest

KNOW THIS – YOU ARE NOT ALONE – THERE ARE THOUSANDS OF CAREGIVERS ACROSS NORTH AMERICA AND INDEED THE WORLD - OUR NUMBERS ARE INCREASING DAILY! Who cares? We care! Everyday, 24/7, we care! Reach out and keep reaching until you find people who care that you care! I choose to be invisible no longer, I chose to be seen, I chose to be heard, I chose to be respected, I chose to be valued, I chose to be acknowledged!

I did not chose this role but I can sure chose how I play it! So can you!

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    • profile image

      Trevon 

      3 years ago

      I found just what I was needed, and it was ennretainitg!

    • profile image

      Liberty 

      3 years ago

      It's much easier to unsdterand when you put it that way!

    • raisingme profile imageAUTHOR

      raisingme 

      8 years ago from Fraser Valley, British Columbia

      You are most welcome. Thank you for the visit and your comment.

    • SteveoMc profile image

      SteveoMc 

      8 years ago from Pacific NorthWest

      Thanks for the humorous yet poignant hub on one of life's challenges. Very honest and introspective.

    • raisingme profile imageAUTHOR

      raisingme 

      8 years ago from Fraser Valley, British Columbia

      It is not an easy role to play and I hope my Hubs help you to help your dad. It is too often very difficult for a caregiver to ask for help - guilt seems to pervade the entire family in such a situation and that combined with the depression a caregiver often suffers from is a big hindrance in them asking for anything for themselves. It is very often more that than pride that keeps the caregiver going it on their own. I only know this because I have and am living it! Now that I do know - I really want to raise the awareness of those who are connected to the caregiver and often to their "charges" as well. You are most welcome!

    • Juliette Morgan profile image

      Juliette Morgan 

      8 years ago

      raisingme thank you for this - my Dad 85 is in this position with Mum 79 - I feel so guilty but my Father is so so proud and thankfully at the moment they are both still themselves..you clearly know far more about this than me, thank you.

    • U Neek profile image

      U Neek 

      8 years ago from Georgia, USA

      LoL Thanks, I needed that!

    • raisingme profile imageAUTHOR

      raisingme 

      8 years ago from Fraser Valley, British Columbia

      Thank you Ethel - it is wonderful to feel I have hit the nail on the head rather than the usual feeling of having been nailed in the head!

    • ethel smith profile image

      Ethel Smith 

      8 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Well said. You have hit the nail on the head. Sometimes the fact that they are a caregiver gives them extra strength. They carry on when really they should not. Then when the person they are caring for is no more, they realise that they are worn out and in danger themselves.

      I enjoyed the humour in parts of this hub. I could so relate to it.

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