‘Care’ is the root of caregiving. For seniors aging in place, caregivers devote time and energy — perhaps assisting with daily activities and chores, providing transportation, managing household expenses, or helping to cope with chronic illness and medication management. Yet in each of these tasks, there is an emotional component. Although caregivers may be subject to momentary feelings of frustration or exhaustion, the underlying current of feeling comes from affection and compassion — wanting to do everything possible to better the life of someone so dear.
When times get tough or in home caregiving demands increase, caregivers might lean on this wellspring of emotion in order to continue giving of themselves. But these resources are not infinite: an outpouring of caring over weeks, months, or years can cause something known as ‘compassion fatigue.’ Keep reading to learn more about this phenomenon, its widespread effects, and how to avoid giving way to this form of caregiver burnout.