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Caregivers often are so busy caring for others that they tend to neglect their own emotional, physical, and spiritual health. The demands on a caregiver's body, mind, and emotions can easily seem overwhelming, leading to fatigue and hopelessness -- and, ultimately, burnout. Other factors that can lead to caregiver burnout include:
  • Role confusion -- Many people are confused when thrust into the role of caregiver. It can be difficult for a person to separate her role as caregiver from her role as spouse, lover, child, friend, etc.
  • Unrealistic expectations -- Many caregivers expect their involvement to have a positive effect on the health and happiness of the patient.
  • Lack of control -- Many caregivers become frustrated by a lack of money, resources, and skills to effectively plan, manage, and organize their loved one's care.
  • Unreasonable demands -- Some caregivers place unreasonable burdens upon themselves, in part because they see providing care as their exclusive responsibility.
  • Other factors -- Many caregivers cannot recognize when they are suffering burnout and eventually get to the point where they cannot function effectively. They may even become sick themselves.

Caregiver Burnout is a condition that often appears with many of the same symptoms of depression and anxiety when a Caregiver becomes physically, emotionally, or mentally strained or even exhausted. It's even so well known that even interabled relationship couples go through individual as well as couples counseling to try to combat it's frequency. While our relationships may not necessarily involve physical limitations, disabilities, impairments, or medical conditions it does seem that a heavy emotional, physical, and even financial dependency upon a sole Caregiver is typically desired. Even though that dependency is desired by both/all parties involved in the partnership it can still place a strain after long-term care upon the primary Caregiver.

It's very possible that Caregivers within our CGL based relationship dynamics are at high risk of feeling this burnout. It's also very possible that it's something that goes unrecognized properly or it causes a Caregiver to feel shameful about experiencing it within such a special relationship. It seems to be a potentially very important topic that we, as a community, need to address so that we continue to support one another, regardless of identity or role.

So, to open up our dialogue about this situation, bring it to our community's attention, and hopefully to reduce embarrassment or shame someone who is experiencing it for the first time: Do you feel you've reached a point in your partnership where you've potentially felt this "Caregiver Burnout" happen to you? What makes you think that you may have experienced this condition? What were your symptoms of feeling this type of burnout, and was it something you were aware of at the time or something you've grown to learn and realize afterward?

If there is anything a Caregiver would like to say about Caregiver Burnout please feel free to discuss your experiences.

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I believe this topic was touched on in at least the relationships class in CAPcon. This is normal and should be accepted by the little as okay. It is so normal that the group felt strongly that this is common enough to be expected. Despite the Caregiver often feeling so, it is not a sign of failure, weakness, or inadequacy.

We have now created an educational resource (or help topic) for the community about combating CGL Caregiver Burnout here.

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