Does anybody out there suffer from burnout from not getting any time away at all from caregiving to have their own lives?

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Anybody? Try almost everybody! Expert after expert tells us that we absolutely MUST have respite. We tell each other that we must get away from the situation regularly. We know that caregivers have higher death rates than our non-caregiving peers, and are subject to all kinds of stress-related health problems. And we also know that one action we can take to counteract these adverse outcomes is to have time to ourselves weekly and to take regular vacations. So, do we?

Sigh. It is very, very difficult to arrange respite regularly. But we do lots of other very, very difficult things. We need to do this. (And I say "we" because this is something I too haven't been as conscientious about as other caregiving duties.)

So we know what the problem is: not getting time away
We know what the consequences are: ugly health and mental health impacts
And we know what the solution is: arrange to get away regularly

But the solution can be hard and we often just don't have the energy to make it a priority. We should.

My Mother, in assisted living has panic attacks when I go out of town. Even if I'm at the beach and only two hours away. I go anyway. She makes the time before I go miserable, and I'm punished in someway when I get home. But being away sure is wonderful.

I'd like to hear what others have to say.
Top Answer
Ummmmm.... Yes. Absolutely.
My work frequently calls for me to be away from home overnight. It's hard on the remaining family at home, but it works out. It's true that I "pay" for it, when I come home, because my Dad is both so angry and so relieved he can't help himself from being nasty and needy, in alternating breaths. This last trip, for the first time, I didn't want to come home to this house and family and pets I love. I've been so cranky and tense, and can't seem to stop the cascading emotions and snakiness I am spewing. Though, today it seems more internally peaceful.
I think burnout comes with the territory. As much as the physical demands, I find its my own internal "weather" that costs me time and energy. I get mad about the unpredictability of how long it takes to get him ready in the morning --will it be 30 minutes or will this be a 90 minute day? Will he have spilled the urinal? Can I find where he stashed the dirty "special underwear" he didn't want me to know he soiled -- the one I can smell, but will be yelled at for hunting down? How hard will it be to keep his dog from biting my dog this morning? What else will I find? When the kids were little, there were days when you had to take them to the doctor unexpectedly, but those times were rare. It's less rare for him, so I always have to have a back-up plan for work (I am a consultant so not so easy) when clients are counting on me. I rarely see my friends these days because it feels like too much trouble to make the plans, and then all I do is whine when I am with them. I blame it on Dad being here, on Dad's temper, on Dad's stubbornness - but the real problem is my internal battles about him. It's all stuff I can change within myself, but have less and less resilience to be able to do.
Somedays I feel like I want it to feel seamless to Dad, how much effort this all takes. Other days I want him to recognize how topsy turvy this has made the family. Some days I see how upended his own life is, and feel more patience with him. Then there are days I feel like I don't see how I can get through the week like this, let alone potentially years more. I want to see an outcome to root for that doesn't require rooting for him to die. And there are moments when I remember it doesn't matter WHAT I root for. Things will unfold as they will, when they will.
When I can get myself to stop wrestling ME to the ground, I can walk through this with more peace and grace. SO the real thing I root for is that I find more moments of that. Sorry for the rambling...
I know how you feel.I lived in ohio 4 years an taken care my mother an aunt plus traving back an forth to pa.Now i been retired since june of 06.So i put my life on hold for almost 10 years now.My mother is 93 an my anut pass way at age of 92 3 years ago.But its the right thing to do in GODS eyes.Im burn with no help at all with 8 family members with 10 mins from her.Dont stop you will be bless from above.
Today, my husband is taking his father to the hospital and I am praying they will keep him a few days. I know this is wrong, but that's how I feel.
This morning, I am sleeping past 6 am, for once in a LONG time, and my husband wakes me to do my FIL's iv, although I showed him how to do it. Wow,I think, couldn't he do this himself? Already, before the sun is barely up, I hear a list of complaints and demands......must call O2 people, for more supplies, call the med., people, call the doctor, etc., No, it's not time to take iv out, no you cannot have dairy with cipro, etc.
The other day, my husband and I had a terrible arguement about all of this. I tried to explain to him that I am burned out and his reply is don't be so dramatic.
So, on top of everything I have a very selfish husband who runs away any chance he gets.
I miss so many things....little things, like playing my stereo loud while cleaning the house, lighting candles, having friends over for dinner. Working!
I notice that I am much more sensitive and snappy lately and my husband has become very critical.
But, I know how much I can and cannot take. And, I have no problem voicing that I need help.
All we can do is take one day at a time and take lots of deep breaths and pray.
oh wow... you are going to get a ton of email on this.... Ya im burnt out,,, beyond toasty, im crispy. Im only 43 yrs old, but Im the parent of 2 teens and a 61 yr old Mom with a mutitude of health issues, and alzhiemers. Once Mom got on hospice 3 months ago, her health has gone downhill. I had to toss in the towel. I love her, but I also love my kids, and dont want to be a bitter mean woman because I cant do everything, and feel like I should. Weve applied for Medicaid for Mom and she is going to go live in a nursing home. No one else in the fam will help, and I cant do it anymore. My friends dont come over cause Mom will " have an attack", and if the kids have sleepovers then shel be up a the butt crack of dawn making all kinds of noise.. I dont understand, and hope Im never like her...... please try and take some time for you, and cherish that solitude, or put your foot down....
I have the same problem, completely burnt out! I'm caring for MIL for past 3 or so yrs she's 88 w vascular dementia. Her daughters only a few miles away w 1. Daughter who doesn't even work! Rarely do I get any physical help. I've had major health issues recently n it's getting more n more difficult to care for MIL. Her insureance will not cover home health svcs n with my husband the only one working difficult to hire from outside but at this point if nothing is done soon I will surely end up in the hospital b4 my MIL. Ps. His Sisters r no longer speaking to my husband only because they've made troubles about THEM n not about caring for there own mother. Ridiculous!
jimscare - We are also blessed from above if we get respite care or have our parent in a nursing home - some of us can't put our lives on hold; especially if we have children and there are adverse effects from the caretaking of the elderly person in our homes. Bless you for all you do. I've done all scenarios - care in home, my home and nursing home.

Shortmama - I understand and totally support the NH decision. My mother is in a nursing home and doing fine. Nursing homes are not the facilities of the past.

What I learned is not to let the stress kill me; respite care is a must if you can get someone to give it to you. A really good nursing home can be a needed alternative as well. God bless everyone and all the gut-wrenching decisions we have to make. I can feel the bus coming - I'll be prepared and will just step aside and not allow myself to be thrown under it.
Hi, wow this is an issue for everyone. I have been caring for my Mom for two years she had a hemorogic stroke. I am an only child so cannot ask for help from anyone. I retired early because it was too much, but I am 62 and am getting so tired of not being able to come and go as I would like, it is time to look at assisted living or getting a companion to come in so my dh and I can go on vacation. I miss just meeting my kids and having a conversation without her.....the guilt I feel will kill me.
Hi, wow this is an issue for everyone. I have been caring for my Mom for two years she had a hemorogic stroke. I am an only child so cannot ask for help from anyone. I retired early because it was too much, but I am 62 and am getting so tired of not being able to come and go as I would like, it is time to look at assisted living or getting a companion to come in so my dh and I can go on vacation. I miss just meeting my kids and having a conversation without her.....the guilt I feel will kill me.

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