He Burned caregiver syndrome Involves a physical and psychological exhaustion of the person who takes care of another, Usually an elderly person, who becomes dependent after suffering some kind of brain injury or degenerative disease.
If you take care of a person with some type of injury or brain disease, you are likely to be physically and psychologically exhausted. It's more, maybe you Feel guilty for feeling this bad, because it is supposed to be your duty to take care of this person and you should be able to do it alone.
Characteristics of the caregiver syndrome
It is often seen in people caring for a relative with Alzheimer disease Or have been left with serious consequences after suffering a accident Cerebro-vascular.
The care of this type of patients is very demanding, as they completely depend on another person to have covered their basic needs.
We have to help them to eat, we have to dress them, give them the medicines, help them go to the bathroom and a lot etcetera, all day, every day.
Undoubtedly it is a tiring job for whoever assumes responsibility for the care of such a dependent person.
East stress Continued over time begins to cause physical and psychological symptoms in the caregiver, symptoms that together make up the Called the caregiver's syndrome.
In many cases, the caregiver is a woman of average age who:
He is very close to the sick: he is the wife, the mother or the daughter.
She is very willing and responsible with her tasks.
Try to combine the activities of your life with the care of this family member in the best possible way
Believe that you will be able to take care of this person by yourself and also continue with your daily activities
What happens to the person who cares for another?
Over time, the person is assuming a great burden, physical and psychic. By taking care personally of everything related to the care of the patient, the Caregiver gradually loses his independence, because all his time is dedicated to the care of his relative.
Thus, the caregiver is disregarded as well. It leaves its recreational activities, its social life is very diminished, it leaves to leave and after a time, the Caregiver's quality of life is greatly affected.
If you take care of a patient who is very dependent, you will not necessarily suffer from the caregiver's syndrome.
But you must be very attentive to these symptoms, because the physical and emotional stress can begin to affect you at any moment.
In addition, the syndrome does not appear overnight, but is gradually being installed.
The alarm signals to which you must pay close attention are the following:
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Symptoms of anxiety
You may feel more anxious than before, and this may be a sign that the caregiver syndrome is settling into your life.
If you have adopted excessive and compulsive behaviors
If you have started smoking or do more than before for example, it may be an indicator that you are suffering from the syndrome. Excessive consumption of Alcohol and sudden mood swings are also warning signs.
Memory problems, lack of concentration
Do you have trouble concentrating on your daily tasks? Do you often forget what you had to do? The intense stress, continued in the Time may be the cause.
You have stopped going out.
A person who is taking care of a family member full time little by little is leaving aside his social life. If you have stopped seeing your friends and already You do not even think about going out at night, so maybe you're starting to suffer from the caregiver's syndrome.
That you feel identified with some of these symptoms does not necessarily mean that you have the syndrome. However, you must be attentive because no doubt You are in a very vulnerable situation.
Stages of Caregiver Syndrome
As is often the case with psychic or psychological disorders, they are installed gradually, through a process that takes a certain time.
We briefly explain that process, so that you can better understand what may be happening to you.
Stage 1. Assuming Leadership
Many times a vascular accident is the cause of the brain injury that leaves the person disabled, and in other cases, it is a disease Degenerative that a good day the doctor diagnoses.
After knowing the news, and naturally, someone assumes the leadership and although the whole family can collaborate, only one person will be the Main reference, and that person is you. That day begins your great path of effort and dedication.
Stage 2. High demand and few resources
It is possible that in the early days of care you realize that the demand for time and other resources is really great.
You try to cover all the needs of the patient, dedicating more time and more care. Many times the patient is not even in a position to Collaborate minimally in their care, which is very exhausting for the caregiver.
Step 3. Reaction to overdemand
After some time of great dedication on your part, of much stress and effort, your body begins to react to overdemand.
Soon you will feel exhausted, physically and mentally. You may feel anxious and depressed. As mentioned above, Sudden mood swings, sleep disturbances, and social isolation.
Maybe you feel guilty for being really tired and for wanting (even for a moment) to leave the sick and have some time for yourself.
At this stage you can say that you are suffering from the caregiver syndrome.
Stage 4. Feeling Relieved
Some people do not dare to express their sense of relief, once the person has passed away. Relief and the sense of liberation is Completely natural, to the extent that the caretaker was trapped in that situation.
Caregiver's syndrome in senile dementia
Caregiver's syndrome can present much more marked signs in caregivers with degenerative nervous system , Whose cognitive processes deteriorate more and more with time.
Imagine what it means to take care of a very dear person, who does not really even know you, does not know who you are, where you are or what time you are living. Nor is he able to say two coherent sentences in a row.
It is psychologically exhausting and very frustrating. And besides, the caregiver knows that the disease is irreversible, and that it will only get worse. The same Time, do not know how long it will last.
According to WHO data, there are currently more than 36 million people living with senile dementia . On the other hand, it is anticipated before the greater life expectancy, That within two decades this number will be substantially higher.
The large number of patients will increase the cases of the caregiver's syndrome. This means that resources must be devoted not only to the care of Sick, but also to the care of those who care for these patients.
Different types of caregivers
There are different types of caregivers, and the syndrome affects each of them differently.
Formal caregivers are those who belong to an institution, such as a hospital or nursing home.
Then there are the relatives who are informal caregivers, and who only take care of the sick from time to time, but not all the time.
And then there is the family member who lives with the sick and cares for him most of the time, usually the wife, the daughter or the mother. These are the caregivers With more risk of suffering from the caregiver syndrome.
Of those affected, 63% are women and 37% are men.
To attend to this situation, there are programs of containment, training and assistance to this type of people today.
Can caregiver syndrome be prevented?
Whenever there is an illness or an accident that generates dependence of a loved one towards another person, there will be negative effects.
You would not be human if you did not feel sadness, impotence, and even what is much worse: a Feeling of great guilt . Why? Because that loved one is Depending on you to live, and sometimes you will feel the need to go out to distract or take care of yourself.
All that you feel is completely normal. But in addition to this, you should know that there are tools and measures you can take that will help you Mitigate the effects of the syndrome, or what is even better: prevent that situation from becoming a disorder for you.
Here are some recommendations that may help you:
Acknowledge the problem
Indeed the illness of that loved one has generated a problem. As such you have to assume it, and plan the strategies to face it successfully.
Many people, whether out of shame or because they are worried about"what they will say"will minimize the situation and hide it.
Do not confuse leadership with responsibility
It may be that for different reasons you are the leader of this great mission that is to take care of the sick, but that does not mean that you are the only one responsable.
Maybe you think that if you do not eat the food or the medication yourself, no one else will be able to do it right. You must learn to share these tasks and involve Other relatives and friends in the care of the patient.
Talk about the topic
Talk about what you feel with a friend or family member. When a problem is shared, the perspective changes completely. Sharing will alleviate your load.
It is also important to communicate to health professionals, if you have noticed advances or setbacks in the situation of the patient you care for.
Never assume, that such or such a change is characteristic of the disease. Trust the specialized people.
New habits of life?
You may have neglected your food or your activities, to devote more time to the care of the sick person.
But it is important that your diet is balanced, healthy and natural and that you have moderate physical activity, so that your body can maintain its good Health.
Take time for yourself
To some extent it is natural that you leave aside your desires, tastes or even your routine to take care of that person.
No doubt, when you take care of someone you have more responsibilities but you can not stop caring for yourself. If you do, you will feel bad, you will get sick and You will cease to be a good caregiver.
Take some time to go to the movies with a friend, to go to the hairdresser or for that hobbie that you like so much. This will help clear your mind, te You will feel much better and you will also be able to take better care of the sick person.
Try to avoid overprotection
Sometimes and totally unconscious, you protect too much that special being that you are taking care of.
You can hear yourself repeating,"Such a thing can not do it because it does him wrong"or"I'm afraid something will happen to him and then I'd rather do it myself." The It is true that you are placing yourself on your shoulders more burden than necessary. Plus it does not do good to the other person.
Sometimes you may feel irritated and frustrated because you think that the sick person does nothing to contribute to their rehabilitation or you think Act just to annoy you.
Learn about the brain damage of that person and you will understand better the way he behaves.
This caregiver syndrome is much more prevalent than you think. You must be alert to the first symptoms and share the responsibilities of the Care of the patient with other people, to avoid the exhaustion and deterioration in your life.
What is your experience with the caregiver syndrome? How are you coping? Your experience will help other people with the same problem. Thanks!