Burnout among caregivers of patients suffering from peripheral neuropathy symptoms can become problematic for patients, family members, and caregivers themselves. Familial amyloid polyneuropathy is one of many neurodegenerative diseases that requires a focused level of care for patients, so monitoring caregiver mental health is crucial to maintaining a patient’s overall well-being.
Even with a concerted effort toward managing caregiver workload, every caregiver should be aware of their physical limitations while also being ready to step in and help manage another caregiver’s workload when needed.
Following are some reasons why neuropathy caregivers must prevent burnout and tips for managing their physical and mental stress.
Causes of caregiver burnout
The role of caregiver for my mother-in-law involves various tasks that sometimes require more than one person to complete. These tasks range from driving my mother-in-law to run errands, helping her in and out of her wheelchair, lifting things around the house, and helping her to the bathroom when her physical pain or medication side effects become too much for her to handle.
Some tasks require a specialized level of care — for example, dispensing medicine dosages and administering topical treatments. As my sister-in-law has experience working in the medical field, most of these roles fell on her. However, the demanding nature of the role and rapidly shifting priorities soon left her burnt out and unable to find enjoyment in her personal life.
The expectations of being a caregiver may be confusing to someone new to the role. As this role has an abrupt beginning and indefinite endpoint, a new caregiver may become overwhelmed with the amount of work required to perform these functions in a satisfactory manner. Caregivers may also feel burdened by their lack of control. In our experience, no matter how much effort we put into caring for my mother-in-law, we have times when it seems as if we aren’t doing enough.
Why caregivers need to prevent burnout
Caregiver burnout may negatively impact their ability to continue caring for a loved one. The physical toll of burnout can lead to symptoms such as irregular sleeping patterns, irritability, physical exhaustion, and appetite changes. Caregiver burnout may also cause mental and emotional exhaustion, with symptoms that include social withdrawal, depression, loss of enjoyment, and feelings of worthlessness. As a caregiver’s impaired physical and mental well-being can drastically affect the patient, they should recognize their limits and be able to call on others who are willing to step in to help.
How caregivers can prevent burnout
Caregivers should schedule time to rest and recover from the demands of their role, including time for sleep, socialization, recreation, and physical activity. To allow them to take time out, caregivers need to have friends or family members on standby who are willing to fill in when needed. If caregivers are feeling overwhelmed in their role, one-to-one counseling or joining a support group can help them to cope.
Note: FAP News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of FAP News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to familial amyloid polyneuropathy.
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