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I am tired a lot of the time, but not all days, and sometimes I wake up tired after a full night's sleep. Perhaps the days I do feel rested, I do too much, and that makes me exhausted the next day, and so on. How do you get through the day if you wake up fatigued, or are tired as the day wears on? Is fatigue common among caregivers? I would love to hear your stories on the subject. Any tips?

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I handle it by taking the day off - I may not be able to get out my caregiving responsibilities but I can go a day without cleaning! I can declare a day of rest for myself.
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I found caregiving exhausting and if you read through the posts here you will find that caregivers are exhausted. Emotionally, mentally, and physically. I know it's the hardest thing I ever did and I did it for years. I get exhausted just thinking about it. Like you I woke up exhausted and I would jump up in the middle of the night thinking that I heard my dad calling for me. I'd scurry down to his room and realize that I had just dreamed it. I was even caregiving in my sleep!

In my opinion unrelenting exhaustion can lead to physical illness and depression. We have to guard against becoming sick ourselves and if you're feeling exhausted on a regular basis it's time for a break. A trip to your Dr. would be a good idea too.
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It might sound stupid, but how old is your mattress? Try one of those cool-foam mattresses . And if your significant other snores like a lumberjack, sleep in a spare room. It helps.
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If only it were possible to take a day off.

Are there many jobs where one must be on duty and/or on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week? If so, I bet they pay a LOT better.

Community resources are great and sometimes stretched beyond their limits. Still, it’s good to check into it. We're on the waiting list at our local Council on Aging, hoping for respite care. However, Mom's behavior has become so unpredictable that I might just worry about her the whole time.

Truly speaking, the best remedy is to look within for the strength to go on, rather than focus on outer circumstances. Meditation and yoga provide restorative rest and rehabilitation. It’s best to receive instruction before trying these, in person with someone who can give you feedback, for safety’s sake. Unhappily, caregivers don't have much freedom to attend classes. But maybe there’s someone who will come to you?

Good luck and God bless.
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Whitney, all of these responses say the same thing, and I will too: you absolutely need to get some respite care. I am 77 and caring for my 89 year old husband who has rapidly advancing dementia. He has needed considerable assistance for the last five years, but since last November, he can do almost nothing. I have had help with caring, but only enough to be able to get to my own doctor appointments, take care of business needs, and occasionally get with friends for an hour or so. It has completely worn me down and I am now as a result having health problems of my own. I know it is a struggle to feel o.k. about taking time for yourself, but it really is essential. I am presently dealing with burnout, and only that has made it possible for me to say, "I matter too." Don't wait until you get to that point. Do it now. You matter.
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Caregiving is a very stressful task, it may even result to emotional and physical stress. You should be able to take care of yourself so you will be an effective caregiver. I have published an article for caregivers who are exhausted from their task of providing care to long term care recipients at infolongtermcare:
www.infolongtermcare.org/senior-caregiver-support/tips-for-caregivers/effective-stress-relief-for-caregivers/
www.infolongtermcare.org/senior-caregiver-support/tips-for-caregivers/
Take time to check them out, it also include caregiver support organization if in case you needed one.
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Mom is in a facility, and fairly independent, so my physical duties are few, consisting of taking her shopping, MD apptmts, etc. But she has a personality disorder and recently diagnosed with dementia, and the emotional stress exhausts me.
In October I had shoulder surgery, then preparing for Christmas, and I had to put my beloved dog to sleep, and lost a friend of 30 yrs. and my brother died Christmas day(not unexpected as he had been in a facility for years due to alcohol induced dementia) also my daughter adopted a baby with HLHS, a serious heart defect who was born Dec. 5th.
All of a sudden my exhaustion became so bad that I would literally have to lie down or feel like I would fall down. Visiting the baby, I had to lie down on the couch in the hospital and fell asleep for several hours. At home I could sleep all night and still sleep 5 hrs during the day. Went to the MD and I was tested for thyroid and Epstein Barr Virus. Turns out I was positive for Epstein Barr, and the evidence confirmed that I'd had it in the past, which explained why every once in a while I'd feel like I had the flu---achy, very tired, needed to sleep for a few days and then felt better. I told the doctor that I can wake up one day and feel great, and go like normal, then the next day I'm so exhausted I can hardly move. He said that was very symptomatic of EBV, which was why he tested me.
I say all this in hopes that anyone with extreme fatigue doesn't just assume it's emotional exhaustion, but may actually be a physical problem which is exascerbated by the stress.
Interestingly enough while I was away for a month with my new grandbaby, I had some days where I slept 12 hrs, but was generally much better. Now that I'm home again and dealing with Mom and the prospect of the baby's upcoming heart surgery, I am having the symptoms again. So now I'm aware, and yesterday slept for 5 hrs, and last night slept for 12 hrs. Nothing but rest seems to help. I have the luxury of taking care of myself, which I know many of you do not, but now that I've been diagnosed with an actual illness, I am less hard on myself when it comes to Mom, and I can just tell her "I'm sorry, I don't feel well today". Get tested if you are always tired.
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We hear you! I could have written your post -- in fact, I have been tempted to write in lately with the same question. Lately I have been worn out and have been trying going for more walks, swimming, working through the fatigue, and gardening. Getting outside really seems to help, and getting things done makes me feel better. A few weeks ago someone drove into us and totaled our car --so on top of all the normal things I've had to add trips to a physical therapist and car buying to the list of things to do. Cathy24 is right -- sometimes you just have to laugh.
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Hi Whitney, yes this is very, very common. You are doing a full time job, taking care of someone is very taxing. My suggestion to you is to take a minute in the morning before you start your day and take some time for you. Get a cup of tea, read, look at a show that makes you laugh, and then start. You have to think about you first. Also get some type of a hobby, bowling, bingo, painting potery. This will help you to relax and focus on you instead of others. If you don't take time for you, then you will burn out, and then someone else will have to take care of you. Be blessed, and I will be praying for you EVERYDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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I learned recently that those who do not get enough sleep cannot "catch up" with a few 12-hour nights. It's best to work in 1/2 to 3/4 hour more sleep a night over a long period of time ~ much easier said than done! I do not know your situation or finances, but here are a few ideas:
1) Gently, gradually work your loved one's schedule back to where YOU can go to bed earlier too. Perhaps a little more walking, exercise or enjoyable activity would tire her/him out for an earlier bed time. I had to move my mother's bedtime up 1/2 hour so to have a little time for myself. I put on a CD when she got into bed ~~ music she enjoyed and it was a "treat" as well.
2) Check with your local Alzheimer's or Senior's assistance agency and ask if there are "Respite Grants" available. We easily qualified for $750.00 toward having competent care in the house, which gave me many hours to nap or get away. Your area Health Department may know of something like this also.
3) Absolutely do NOT underestimate how mental and emotional stress make you feel tired. I can not survive a day without some "ME" time. We set up a treadmill, a TV, Wii Fit and a comfy chair in the garage so I can escape to exercise or read for ten minutes here and there. When my daughter needs to study, she goes out there and has a cozy side table and foot rest, instant peace and quiet.
4) Please keep appointments with your own doctor! Sometimes bloodwork shows vitamin deficiencies, or a good doctor will pick up on things you are not seeing. There are often small changes, nutritional foods or over-the-counter aids that can boost you out of exhaustion.
5) Realize that you can not do your best for your loved one if you are not at your best. YOU ARE THE PRIORITY. Check health insurance, Medicaid, Medicare, etc. to find who will cover companion or nursing care in your home in order to give you a break. Don't know if your loved one can go out to adult day programs, but this has helped other caregivers I know find time for self and rest.

I wish you the best. You are in my prayers.
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