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How Sickness Affects Caregivers

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We think that there is one thing worse than being grievously sick, and that is the process of caring for a loved one who is ill with any kind of long-drawn or terminal or degenerative illness. The difficulty associated with the position of a caregiver has to do with putting in extensive physical and emotional effort into ensuring that the patient is comfortable, as well as with the sometimes unrealistic hope of their getting better. Over a duration of months or years, the experience and responsibility of a sick friend or relative tends to affect the most sincere caregivers in insidious and subtle ways.

The organized attempts at keeping a patient as well-cared for and happy as possible may, in extreme cases, lead to caregiver burnout, which is a condition where the one taking care of the sick person is left physically, emotionally, and mentally exhausted with the activities of helping a patient. In most cases, caregiver burnout is accompanied by clinical levels of depression and it is recommended that these individuals seek psychiatric help to contain their condition before it leads to a massive breakdown.

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What happens when a caregiver burns out

Unfortunately, caregivers are empathetic people, and many would not like to forego care tasks even at the risk of a burnout. Early signs of a burnout need to be taken seriously and medical and social intervention has to be made available for the person at risk to avert a state of total nervous collapse. The commonest of these symptoms include feeling annoyed, irritable and neurotic, withdrawing from family and friends, losing in interest in activities previously enjoyed, insomnia, low appetite, weight loss or gain, and a tendency to abuse substances like nicotine and alcohol.

Help at hand

Experts say that the chief reason for caregiver burnout is dissonance with realistic expectations they have about the patient’s health and happiness. While this is a problem not solved easily, the modern world has come up with solutions to assist caregivers who also struggle financially to pay for treatments. Crowdfunding platforms across the world help people raise funds for medical transplants, cardiac care, cancer, genetic disorders and more. Crowdfunding has appeared as a blessing to help patients and their loved ones who care for them in equal measure, eliminating at least the financial worries and anxieties from the struggles caregivers live with.

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