Friday, June 1, 2007

Compassion Fatigue - right on target

For a beautiful first-person account on the art and rewards, as well as the challenge and fatigue of caring for an aging loved one (or Ancient one, as this person words it), read this blog entry - Bet me.

I truly think the description of caregiver burnout as "compassion fatigue" strikes at the heart of the issue. Caregivers give of their time, energy, physical labor and their love for hours at a time, day after day. Even paid caregivers working in assisted living communities or other senior care settings do so with incredible compassion toward the persons in their care - why else would they do this difficult work, when often Starbucks or Burger King pays more?

It is because they are devoted to making a difference in the lives of the most vulnerable; of being where they are most needed. Not just making a living - but making a real difference.

As a profession of senior care providers, we need to continually search for ways to help caregivers cope with compassion fatigue. We need to offer support, encouragement, "mental health breaks" and opportunities to re-energize with laughter and fun.

These are some of our society's most important quiet contributors. We need to take good care of them.

No comments:

Post a Comment