Defining the 'F" word

We are all guilty of using the 'F' word, but for some reason those who are taking care of loved ones have more hiding behind that word than the rest of us. It is so easy to revert back to the 'F' word, but it might be time to express how you actually feel. Whether you are caring for an aging parent, a child with developmental disability or another loved one, it is time to take care of yourself and understand your own emotions. Find out what the 'F' word is and how to avoid burn out as a caregiver below.


Defining the 'F' word

Karyna Matsyuk / Richmond News

I’m going to talk about a word I hear most often from family caregivers. It is the F word — “fine.”

But let’s start with defining the words “family caregiver.” I define family caregiver as a family member who has an elderly relative. The degree of involvement in care may range from providing personal care to making a few phone calls a week to check on the elderly, and everything in between. Wherever you are on this continuum, you are a family caregiver and you are carrying a heavy load whether you realize it or not.

However, when asked “How are you doing?” caregivers often use that “F” word. Many caregivers minimize what they do and are truly convinced that it is “nothing.” In fact, caregivers always think they could be doing more. Caregivers completely neglect themselves. They think they will be just … fine. And they carry on like this. Until they collapse.

Caregiver burnout is real and it is serious. Carrying a heavy load will always have its consequences. Those may show up in the form of health problems, work problems, or you may notice that your relationship with your elders is suffering.

The good news is your energy and patience are renewable.

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