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How long can it be for recovery from caregiver burnout?

4 answers | Last updated: Jul 17, 2014
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Q
An anonymous caregiver asked...
Has anyone researched or even stated how long it may take to recover when you are suffering from caregiver burn out?
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Answers
A
88% helpful
CarolO answered...

I'm guessing there is no one size fits all answer to that question. I moved in with my dad to care for him for almost 3 years before he moved into assisted living. It has been over a year and I still feel like I am recovering. What has helped me is signing up for a monthly massage, some quality time with my husband, and starting to rebuild my social life. My next goal is to start getting regular exercise.

Give yourself time to recover but don't hesitate to seek help from friends or doctors or clergy if you need it.

 

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80% helpful
Askmehouse answered...

I agree with Carol O about there not being a single, standardized answer to your question. I expect there are a LOT of factors that will influence the healing process.

if your question is stemming from your own personal experience and situation, then the fact that you're aware of feeling burned out means you're facing the right direction to allow healing to start. And yet, it also sounds a bit as though you're feeling somewhat "scorched" and/or this has been going on for quite awhile.

As I sit with your question, an analogy with "getting out of debt" comes to mind. It's one thing to pay off an existing debt and quite another to cut up the cards and/or avoid creating new debt. Likewise, it's a really wonderful thing to add bits of self-care to our schedule and a whole 'nother thing to develop a different way of "being with" the stressful situations that caused the burnout.

Either way, I hope you can discover ways to be compassionate with your own need for healing and respite.

 

100% helpful
CA-Claire answered...

One of my friends researched this a bit. Evidently, it takes the adrenals as long to recover as they were under stress, i.e. I have been under heavy stress since my husband's stroke 6 years ago, starting caregiving of my parents on top of caregiving for my husband about 4 years ago, husband passed away unexpectedly 3 years ago, Mom and Dad's dementia really took a large toll on me after that, Mom diagnosed with terminal cancer (mesenteric) Halloween 2011, passed away 1/6/12. Dad has dementia, and is still going strong, although his strength is fading, so he may go soon. So 6 years of heavy duty stress for me, my adrenals still have not gotten a break, so I'll be recovering probably for the rest of my life. Uck.

 

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100% helpful
An anonymous caregiver answered...

I agree with CA-Claire. It's been five years since the parent passed and in getting my life back together I still face fallout/obstacles from caregiving. I was just telling a friend that I wish these obstacles/artifacts would stop so that I can get ready for my own retirement and decline. Give yourself as many years on the back-end as you put in, including the years spent doing those little errands and chores that you did just to help out. Recovery does happen but it may be proportional to the sacrifices that you made. Exercise is key. Laughter is crucial in frequent and ample doses. Do not ever give up and do not ever stop being patient with yourself. You will recover.

 

 
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