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Caution: Caregiver Burnout

When is it okay to for a caregiver to throw up their hands and scream “I can’t do this any more unless I get some help”?

How many caregivers would rather trudge along carrying all the weight on their own shoulders until finally the weight has become so unbearable that they are barely crawling along? When is it time for the caregiver to admit that they have taken on more and more of the responsibility at the cost of their own health? We all need help sometimes. There is no shame and should be no feelings of failure to recognize we can’t do it all.

If you are experiencing any of the following danger signals, you are probably reaching role overload and should seek assistance from a local support group or self-help agency:

  • No matter what you do, you never feel it is enough.
  • You feel you are the only person in the world going through this.
  • You have no time for yourself or a place to be alone for even a brief respite.
  • Family relationships are breaking down because of Caregiving pressures.
  • You can not remember the last time you had a restful nights sleep.
  • You find yourself feeling overwhelmed or weepy.
  • You are having more headaches, colds or other physical conditions.
  • You refuse to think of yourself because “that would be selfish” (even though you are unselfish 99 percent of the time).
  • Your coping methods have become destructive; you are overeating/under eating, abusing drugs/alcohol or taking it out on your family or care recipient.
  • There are no more happy times; loving and caring have given way to exhaustion and resentment, and you no longer feel good about yourself or take pride in what you are doing.


This program is funded in part from a grant through the Older American’s Act 1965 and Kansas Department of Aging.