When Lynn became the full-time caregiver for her mom, she had to reduce the number of hours she put in at her job. Eventually, she quit her job as a full-time accountant to become a part-time assistant tax collector.
“My stress level was through the roof,” she says.
Tina, who was the primary caregiver for her sister-in-law, echoes that sentiment. “[Caregiving] is energy-draining and time-consuming,” Tina says. “I work 60 hours a week, and I can’t cut back on work. So what I had to cut into was personal time for myself. If I wanted to go for a run, I couldn't because I had to go do something for her.”
Unfortunately, Lynn and Tina’s stories are common among caregivers.
Family caregivers spend an average of 24.4 hours per week providing care, according to the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP. Although caregiving can be an incredibly rewarding experience, if the stress of caregiving is left unchecked, it can have an impact on the family caregiver’s health, relationships, and state of mind — eventually leading to burnout and compassion fatigue.
Caregiver burnout is a state of emotional, mental, and physical exhaustion caused by the prolonged and overwhelming stress of caregiving. When you’re burned out, it’s tough to do anything, let alone look after someone else.
Fortunately, caregiver burnout is a process that usually progresses through stages, giving you the opportunity to recognize symptoms and take the necessary steps to prevent it.
Complete this quiz to find out if you are headed toward caregiver burnout so that you can take the necessary steps to prevent it from getting worse.