What Is Caregiver Burnout?

Old age can sometimes bring the worst out of people. Old age coupled with dementia or any other health condition can make the patient cold-hearted, bitter, and mean. 

The patient’s meanness can make life even more difficult for the caregiver. They feel imprisoned by their informal job of caring for an elderly mother, father, or a spouse. 

Note that the term caregiver represents a person caring for a sick or elderly family member. A caregiver could be a young son or daughter, a spouse in their 50s, or a daughter-in-law caring for her husband’s elderly parent. 

Caregivers are generally kind-hearted and giving people. They are willing to go above and beyond to take care of their family members in need. Their inherent selfless personality traits make them susceptible to caregiver burnout. 

It is normal for a caregiver to get stuck in their role as an informal caregiver. Some of them have been meeting their sick family member’s needs for more than a decade. The outcome is stress, confusion, and burnout. 

Clear Signs of Caregiver Burnout

#1 Poor Personal Hygiene

In today’s fast-paced world, it is difficult to find time for personal grooming as is. But finding free time becomes incredibly challenging when you are managing both your work and caregiving tasks. Caregivers often come off as disheveled and unkempt. 

#2 Loneliness 

Caregiver Burnout

It is easy to become isolated when you are tied up with everyday caregiving tasks. Instead of spending their weekends with friends and acquaintances, caregivers find themselves married to their informal role. 

Furthermore, they may also ignore their close friends. Caregivers try not to come off as needy in front of their friends. Instead of sharing their troubles with a support group, they try to keep their problems to themselves, which leads to further isolation. [1]

#3 Loss of Libido

Stress associated with caregiving is one of the most common reasons for loss of libido (sexual desire). It can get difficult to maintain a healthy sex life when you are always worried about the well-being of your elderly family member. [2] 

#4 Physical Weakness 

Physical weakness is a direct result of irregular eating habits. Caregivers struggle to find enough time to prepare a healthy and nutritious meal for themselves. They are often seen eating store-bought sandwiches or fast food. 

Also, it can become difficult to get through a rough day without eating a balanced and nutritious meal, which puts their long-term health at risk. 

#5 Insomnia


At night, caregivers have to wake up every couple of hours to check up on their beloved seniors. Most dementia patients suffer from nocturnal awakening and wandering. It is the caregiver who guides them back to their bed quietly. 

Most caregivers look tired and worn out due to irregular sleeping patterns. Sleep disorders can harm their long-term health. And, they can hinder their ability to perform as a caregiver— putting both the patient and caregiver at risk. [3]


Caregiving demands considerable time, energy, and effort. While caring for a loved one, a caregiver can easily ignore or neglect their personal needs and wants. Their psychological and physical health can decline rapidly. 

Caregiver burnout occurs when a caregiver dedicates his/her time to their loved one without caring for themselves. Hence, a caregiver needs to pause and ask the following questions.

  • Do I feel tired all the time?
  • Am I binging on fast food?
  • Is caring for a loved one affecting me financially?
  • Is caregiving affecting my career?
  • Have I lost interest in sex or dating?

Once you have answers to the above questions, you can move ahead in life with confidence. Make sure to seek help from friends, family, and a therapist when needed. 

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