Compassion fatigue, a type of burnout that used to affect only people who are in so-called “traumatic professions” like doctors and nurses, is now beginning to impact regular individuals. According to an article in the National Post, written by Dr. James Aw, medical director of Medcan Clinic in Toronto, adults who are juggling various responsibilities that include caring for a sick elderly relative, are showing signs of physical, emotional, and spiritual distress commonly associated with this condition. Many people suffering from compassion fatigue nowadays are members of the sandwich generation—individuals who take care of their parents and children, on top of managing the home and maintaining a regular job.
Compassion fatigue is characterized by mood swings, usually from depression to resentment to anxiety to apathy and helplessness. Medical and health professionals, who are expected to always be in their best shape to support, console and empathize with their patients, eventually break down due to the stress of caregiving. Fortunately for caregivers—whether by profession or as a family duty, reliable nursing homes in Madison WI and the surrounding area can relieve part of such burdens by providing compassionate care for their elderly.
“It happens when you’re trying to be everything to everyone,” says Alexandra Fortier, an expert on compassion fatigue, during a recent talk in Medcan Clinic. Sadly, many victims of compassion fatigue do not only endure the hardships of caregiving, but also the heartbreak of not being remembered by loved ones suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. This disheartening situation, paired with the stress of balancing extra tasks levied by caregiving, could lead to the above symptoms.
Madison WI nursing homes and nursing homes in the close proximity, like Maplewood of Sauk Prairie, specialize in caring for elderly individuals who need rehabilitative, memory, or long-term care. Nurses and trained caregivers can effectively deal with the different emotional and mental difficulties that patients suffering from Alzheimer’s and dementia experience. Memory care patients are given memory-focused activities to improve mental clarity, concentration, and memory.
Respite care—in which loved ones are placed under professional care for short periods of time—is also offered to family caregivers who may need some time off from the demands of caregiving. Family caregivers may experience physical and emotional exhaustion, and respite care offers a break from their duties. This way, family caregivers are given the opportunity to take care of themselves and recharge.
Caring for loved ones has its benefits. According to Dr. Aw, “A sense of satisfaction and personal fulfillment can come from caring for loved ones. But you have to take care of yourself before you can take care of others.” By taking advantage of the services of nursing homes and facilities in Madison and surrounding communities, caregiving adults can improve their quality of life and reduce compassion fatigue.