Sunday, January 25, 2015
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

When caregivers need care

By
From page A10 | November 18, 2012 |

By Oscar Wright, Ph.D.

The extraordinary feats of our mythical superheroes, Superman, Wonder Woman and Captain America, pale in comparison to the strength, stamina and compassion of our real-life, unsung heroes: family caregivers.

While caring for a loved one is expected of close family members, the daily life of a caregiver can be one of sleepless nights, unceasing anxiety and unrelenting strain and stress. While caregiving is to be celebrated, it often comes with a cost.

As of 2004, there were 28.8 million caregivers in the United States, with 3.4 million (12 percent) in California; the largest percentage in the nation. A whopping 16.8 million caregivers care for special needs children under 18 years old. In addition, 78 percent of adults living in the community and in need of long-term care depend on family and friends as their only source of help. Sixty-one percent of caregivers are women.

But what happens when unconditional kind and loving acts of caregiving conflict with the mental, emotional and spiritual well-being of the caregiver? This type of condition has been aptly named “Compassion Fatigue.” It results when too much focus is placed on others at the expense of protecting one’s own health.

Studies indicate 40 percent to 70 percent of family caregivers have clinically significant symptoms of depression. About one out of every 10 family caregivers report that caregiving has caused their physical health to deteriorate. Family caregivers experiencing extreme stress have been shown to age prematurely. This level of stress can take as much as 10 years off a family caregiver’s life.

Compassion Fatigue is not a disease but a set of symptoms that may include any one or combination of these:

* Feeling overwhelmed
* Feeling depressed
* Sleeping too much or too little
* Gaining or losing a lot of weight
* Constant fatigue
* Loss of interest in activities you used to enjoy
* Becoming easily irritated or angered
* Feeling constantly worried
* Frequent headaches, bodily pain, or other physical problems
* Abuse of alcohol or drugs, including prescription drugs
* Decreasing interest in work
* Withdrawal from social contacts

What can you do to avoid or minimize issues of compassion fatigue? To begin with, never dismiss your feelings as “just stress.” Caregiver stress can lead to serious health problems and you should take steps to reduce it as much as you can. Consider the following interventions:

* Professional Help: Consult with professionals to explore burnout issues.
* Support Groups: Attend a support group to receive feedback and coping strategies.
* Stay Anchored: Establish “quiet time” for meditation, prayer, yoga, etc.
* Task Share: Rotate caregiving responsibilities with family or friends.
* Technical Assistance: Seek help talking with doctors and other healthcare professionals.
* Stay Healthy: Exercise daily and maintain a healthy diet.
* Keep Balance: Stay involved in hobbies, sports and recreational activities.
* Understand Limits: Be aware of your caregiving limitations.
* Respite Care: Taking some time off from caregiving can reduce stress. “Respite care” provides substitute caregiving to give the regular caregiver a much-needed break.
* Science shows a human body generates approximately 100 watts of electricity; equivalent to a single household electric bulb. In the realm of mental health, let’s make sure the hope-giving light of caregivers never dims with compassion fatigue.

— Oscar Wright is the CEO of United Advocates for Children and Families,a statewide nonprofit that provides support to parents, families, children and youth experiencing mental health challenges. Visit UACF at www.uacf4hope.org.

Comments

comments

Special to The Enterprise

.

News

Bridges of Yolo County: Wear, tear … repair?

By Elizabeth Case | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Four days of unusual, adventuresome music

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Spanish police arrest 4 suspected members of a jihadi cell

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Rockets kill 30 in Ukrainian city as rebels launch offensive

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Abe ‘speechless’ after video claims IS hostage dead

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

GOP presses state bills limiting gay rights before ruling

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Abortion opponents express renewed hope at California rally

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Share your love (story) with us

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Sip wines at St. James’ annual tasting

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

Fake schools draw federal scrutiny

By The Associated Press | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Winter produce available at Sutter market

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

Vote for your favorites in Readers’ Choice poll

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Donations to be distributed during homeless count

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A4

 
Speaker will share computer security tips

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Logos Books celebrates 5 years, offers language groups

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Australian olive oil company opens U.S. headquarters in Woodland

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

Explore at the YOLO Outdoor Expo

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Pedal around Davis on weekly bike ride

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Yolo animal shelter seeking rawhide donations

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A5

Woodland Healthcare employees take Great Kindness Challenge

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

 
At the Pond: Nest boxes give birds new homes

By Jean Jackman | From Page: A6 | Gallery

California ranks worst in nation for guidance counselors

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Davis, Woodland are saving water

By Elizabeth Case | From Page: A12

Words and Music Festival events

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A12

 
.

Forum

Family isn’t keen on relationship

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: A8

 
 
Caring for the aging mouth

By Samer Alassaad | From Page: A8

Big utilities’ nightmare begins to play out

By Tom Elias | From Page: A10

 
Mayor’s Corner: Let’s renew Davis together

By Dan Wolk | From Page: A10

We have the right to choose

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

 
We don’t have to suffer

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

City helped immensely

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

 
Rick McKee cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A10

When measles spreads from Disneyland, it’s a small world after all

By New York Times News Service | From Page: A11

 
From innovation parks to innovative buildings and planning

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11

.

Sports

Wildcats’ inaugural kids development league exceeds expectations

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Aggies get top 2015 gymnastics score, but fall short

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Loud crowd sees DHS boys win

By Spencer Ault | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Lady Devils hold off Pacers, stay perfect in league

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

UCD men take two tennis matches

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B8

 
Watney in ninth at Humana Challenge

By Staff and wire reports | From Page: B8

.

Features

.

Arts

.

Business

Davis man focusing on cannabidiol business

By Will Bellamy | From Page: A9

 
Marrone Bio’s Regalia approved for new uses in Canada

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9

 
UCD grad makes insurance ‘hot 100′ list

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

Yolo County real estate sales

By Zoe Juanitas | From Page: A9

 
.

Obituaries

.

Comics

Comics: Sunday, January 25, 2015

By Creator | From Page: B8