Charles Figley, a psychologist during the Vietnam war, coined the term “compassion fatigue” when he realized that he was experiencing the physical and emotional affects of secondary trauma in supporting the soldiers. Patricia Smith, reflects in this TED talk on her own experiences recognizing compassion fatigue in herself and helping others through the Compassion Fatigue Project.
As dementia caregivers, it’s vital that when our energy and emotional reserves are depleted, we prioritize activities that “refill our tank.” Symptoms of compassion fatigue in caregivers include the following:
2. Emotional outbursts
3. Physical ailments
4. Them v. Us mentality
5. Substance abuse
6. Sadness and Apathy
Do you recognize this pattern in yourself or a loved one? Learn more and take the self-assessment test here.