Caring for the Caregiver

Post provided courtesy of Dr. Scott Moulton DO

I was recently told by a patient of mine that, “getting old ain’t for whimps!” As loved ones age, it becomes more difficult to care for themselves on their own.

Many of us are in a position where we are dealing with an older family member who can no longer live independently. We may provide assistance so they can stay at home, they may move in with us, or they might move to an assisted living facility.

Caring for an elderly loved one can be a rewarding experience, but it is also challenging. Family roles are well established through life, but when we care for an older loved one those roles reverse and the child often feels like a parent. The added responsibility of caring for an adult can cause significant physical and emotional strain.

This strain actually has a name; caregiver fatigue. Spouses, children and all family members are susceptible to caregiver fatigue. It results from several different factors such as sleep deprivation, stress and interruption of personal/professional schedules. According to, there are ways that “caregivers can take steps to fight fatigue and improve their physical and mental health.”

1. Recognize that fatigue is present and that it is negatively affecting daily life.

2. Seek solutions to alleviate fatigue and sleep loss.

3. Carry out these solutions with the help of family, friends or hired services.

It is important that those suffering from caregiver fatigue seek assistance. There are resources in the community to assist those caring for older loved ones. They include, but are not limited to: home health, respite care, private pay health aides and in the case of someone with a terminal illness, hospice.

If you are caring for an older loved one and you feel that you may be suffering from caregiver fatigue, seek help. You need to care for yourself, and then you will be able to more fully enjoy spending time with your loved one.

Dr. Scott Moulton is an internal medicine specialist with special interest in geriatric care, arthritis and autoimmune diseases. Dr. Moulton practices at Ogden Adult and Senior Medicine. If you would like to set up an appointment, please call (801) 476-7500 or visit the website.


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