Support resources available to elderly caregivers suffering from burnout
SARASOTA - Being a caregiver often comes with obstacles. What happens when the burnout from being responsible for another human becomes overwhelming, especially as an elderly caregiver?”
Susan Brucklacher has been caring for her aging mother-in-law for the last nine years.
“Honestly it was very difficult. And the statistics are ugly, if you take account for preexisting condition and age caregiver more often than not dies before their care partner," says Brucklacher.
Psychologist Dr. Angelo Domingo says many variables are at play in the ongoing case involving Bradenton elderly caregiver Lillian Parks accused of overdosing her disabled adult grandson.
“With the caveat that this is not my patient and I don’t know this person, I’d be shocked if there wasn’t some measure of mental illness," says Dr. Domingo.
He says irritability, fantasies of escaping, anxiety and lack of sleep are all signs of caregiver burnout.
“If it gets worse than that if the condition progresses there can be issues of abuse and neglect," says Dr. Domingo.
Director of services at the Caregiver Place of SarasotaCaregiver Place of Sarasota Paula Falk says utilizing resources aimed at guiding caregivers is key.
“Caregiving is very stressful. Part of the other aspect is to have that conversation with trusted love ones and to be able to define what is important, what would be our strategy, what would be our plans in the event that something happens," says Falk.
She says caregivers shouldn’t suffer in silence.
Dr. Domingo stresses caregiver support programs such as those offered by Parkinson’s Place are vital.
“If a caregiver (no matter who they’re caring for) doesn’t know what to do, there are lots of places that they can get information and help," says Dr. Domingo.
Visit Parkinson's Place for more information on available resources.