Sunday, November 10, 2013

Caregiver burnout? What about us?

I read a lot about caregiver burnout.  There is not nearly as much written about what happens to disabled people when problems arise with caregivers.

A caregiving job carries an incredible amount of power that can be misused.  I’ve learned over the years to spot this quicker when it happens and to take immediate action.  It’s not always necessary to fire someone.  I believe in negotiation.  There are always two sides of the street.  On the other hand, if my physical well-being is at risk, it is up to me to take action.

Here are some tips that I’ve learned that indicate a problem that needs to be addressed if it’s happening in your caregiving situation:

-Caregivers who treat the job as a seasonal gig, like running a ride at a carnival.  It’s not a job people should plan to keep for a couple of months until they figure out what’s going on in their head.  
-Caregivers who require an  extraordinary amount of training - caregiving is supposed to make our lives easier, not more difficult.  If you find yourself sucked of energy after they leave, it’s a red flag that there’s a problem
-Caregivers who refuse to take responsibility, even when the job duties are clearly laid out in writing
-Caregivers who forget to do a lot of things, requiring an unrealistic level of supervision and distracting you from the rest of your life
-Caregivers who constantly fail to show up on time as scheduled 
-Caregivers who want to talk about the drama in their lives all the time, seeking attention from you in exchange for their help even though they're being paid
-Caregivers who ask you to assume their responsibilities - pay for their car repairs, etc. so they can do their job

When these things happen it can leave one feeling what I call anti-caregiver burnout.   I can tell when I’m developing this because I find dealing with the caregiver is more work and more aggravation than it’s worth.

Don’t get me wrong-there is no perfect relationship.  But if you find yourself doing more than your caregiver, speak up. 


Caregivers are not the only ones who can burnout.

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