• Amanda Witthauer

Spousal caregiver burnout

There is no way around it, we are all going to age. You know that old saying the only thing certain in life is death and taxes? Well I think I found another category to go with those two and that is aging.

No-one escapes it, and it affects all of us. But so many of us don't plan for it. We tend to think we have so much time that we will get to it later. Then life happens and we now can't build that ramp that we would of needed out front because we lost income when we had a stroke. Or we are no longer able to do physical labor ourselves because of a stroke. How to be prepared ahead of time will be in an up and coming post.

The stroke is just an example of a myriad of things that could happen. All too often though when I go to people's homes that have had the unfortunate accident that has affected their lifestyle it is the

spouse that feels the biggest strain.

As a spouse we tend to want to take care of our spouse if something happens even to the point of detriment to ourselves. So many people tell me I don't want to give up on him or her that is why we are doing what we can at home. And when I look at them they are so ragged themselves that their health is failing. The stress and burn out from the up and down care all night and day is getting to them. But for some reason there is a stigma, that when you say I am tired you are actually saying I give up and that is not true.

If you are taking care of a loved one you are tired. Anyone would be tired and that is ok to acknowledge. You need to acknowledge it so that you remember to take care of yourself even if it is for a few minutes per day.

A few ideas to help balance caregiver burnout:


Take a quick walk outside and get some sunshine

Call a friend just to chat

Read a book

Play with the dog or cat

Take a shower and enjoy it


Remember you are only human. And you are no good to anyone if you are sick yourself and burnout. So you have to come first. By putting yourself first then and only then will you be able to give adequate care to your spouse. You need to find at least 30 minutes a day to unwind and take care of you. Schedule it in your day, you are worth it and you have a hard job. You deserve to feel good too.


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