How do I recognize burnout and compassion fatigue? -

How do I recognize burnout and compassion fatigue?


I feel very guilty because I have taking care of my husband for the past 2 1/2 years, we've been married for 51 years, had five beautiful children, and had a great relationsip. We lost our youngest son, 36, to a hit and run driver, a year ago yesterday. We lost our oldest son 6 years ago to quadreplegia after a fall while playing touch football with kids.He was 46. Now I feel like I'm going insane at times, my husband's shadowing, constantly makes me want to scream by the end of the afternoon! He can't dress or shower himself, takes everyones food from their plate, drinks others drinks, is wetting himself regularly, has had a few bm accidents in his disposable (thankfully!) underwear, is very grumpy to our grandaughter, I think she deserves it because she pokes him and he gets upset! She is 11, almost 12 and very spoiled. We haven't had a real conversation in way over a year now. Lately I find myself losing my temper verbally, I would never harm him. I never get a moment to myself, last evening, after a dinner out with our daughter, I took him to the mens room while I went to the ladies room. Sure enough, he walked right in to find me. Luckily there was noone in there at the time! I really need help! I know I'm complaining about common problems with Alzheimers, anyone with any advice will be appreciated! (AtALoss)

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Depending on where you are in New Jersey, there is respite care available in senior living communities especially up north in the highlands of Sussex County where it's rural and very peaceful. If you're near the border with New York, there's also respite care in Orange County, another tranquil area.

In New York at the Hebrew Home they offer night nursing home programs for Alzheimer's patients who are active at night. It's a camp style program that allows caregivers to get a full night's sleep. Maybe there is something like that near you in New Jersey.

Keep looking even in neighboring states. Pennsylvania, for example, is much cheaper than New Jersey. See what's available in the Poconos where, again, it's very peaceful and much more affordable than NJ. You may find a solution that allows you to get respite and your husband to have activities that meet his needs.

I hope you find something that's affordable to give you some much needed rest and relaxation.
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Thank you for your answer Eyerishlass! I did read the article on burnout and compassion fatique recently, and recognized my feelings. We have been living with our oldest daughter and her family for the past year while looking for affordable housing for myself and my husband. Not easy in New Jersey! Her house is very small, we have our own room which is great, but they get very upset when he gets up at 3 a.m. and leaves the refrigerator door open all night! They are upset when he eats their food when they leave the room for a moment, naturally. He reaches over and grabs my food at the dinner table, things he never did before. He eats constantly, I think he forgets that he ate. I constantly run to lift the toilet seat before he urinates, but he still dribbles on the bowl and floor. I chase after him to prevent his annoying anyone in the house, or to keep him from wandering off, which he did last week, he was gone almost an hour, three of us were looking for him, finally I called 911, soon as I did, our granddaughter spotted him, so I cancelled 911! We have been at our youngest daughter's house for the past week, she has a much larger home and it is so much more peaceful, but her husband doesn't want anyone to live with them. As far as anyone giving me a break for a few days, I doubt it. Our primary care doctor gave me a number for senior day care for him, I will set that up as soon as we get home, that seems like my only hope at this point. Thanks again for writing!
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It sounds like you already recognize burnout and fatigue in yourself. But if you can't recognize it I can read it in what you wrote. You've been coping and enduring and caregiving for a long time. You need a break. You're fresh out of cope and have nothing to feel guilty for. You can't even use the bathroom in peace!

And if you want to complain (rather, vent) you've come to the right place.

Is there someone who can stay with your husband while you get away for a few days? Are you able to hire help to come in and take some of the burden off of you? There are also facilities that offer respite care.

Our reserves aren't bottomless, our patience isn't endless, and eventually things catch up to us and we become sick ourselves or unable to get out of bed or our entire life falls down around our ears. We aren't able to keep going and going and going and going without paying a price.
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