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Burnout is Real

Research has shown that as a parent – whether adoptive, foster, or biological – raising a child with an FASD can be an exhausting caregiver role.

Caregiver Burnout

Studies provide substantial evidence that parents of school-age and older children with intellectual and developmental disabilities experience elevated levels of stress and depressive symptoms, above that of parents of typically developing children.

An individual impacted by FASD may need substantial amounts of support and supervision.  This role can be exhausting, overwhelming and unrelenting. It may cause a caregiver to ignore their own well-being which will cause burnout.  Caregivers need time to reflect, rejuvenate, reenergize, and reset.  Much-needed respite care helps renew caregivers.

Burnout symptoms can include:

  • Tired. Stress, anxiety, or medical needs from your loved one in the middle of the night can make it difficult to get a good night’s rest.
  • Reduced ability to concentrate. With so many tasks and responsibilities to manage you may find it difficult to concentrate. Brain fog makes every task more difficult.
  • Mood swings. You may have minor changes in mood. You feel angry one minute and then sad and helpless moments later. Irritability also is common.
  • Feeling down. You may feel alone, isolated and overwhelmed.
  • Weakened immune system. Stressed caregivers are likely to catch a cold or flu virus going around.

Looking for peer support online? If you're in Minnesota, join the Proof Alliance Virtual Family Center on Facebook today.

Ask for More Support

Ask for more support: Lighten your daily load by asking for more support. When people ask what they can do to help you, have a list ready. While many caregiving tasks might be things you want to do yourself, there are plenty of chores that other people could take over, such as:

  • Grocery shopping
  • Yardwork
  • Cooking
  • Cleaning
  • Taking your child to their medical appointment

Sometimes it can be difficult to accept help. When you are willing to accept help from friends and family, you are giving them an opportunity to feel good about themselves and helping yourself in the process. Even just having someone sit with your family member while you take a break can give you some time to recharge. Many communities have elder care or respite services, which can give you some time for yourself.

Many caregivers provide foster respite care 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If you can find respite and attend yoga class three times a week, that can have a positive impact on your health and wellness.

Self-care tips:

  • Eat healthy foods and meal planning of time.
  • Get enough sleep. Set you phone to for sleep alert.
  • Go for a daily walk with a friend or if you have a dog take them on a walk.
  • Take your medications as prescribed. Implement daily vitamins.
  • Keep preventive medical appointments.
  • Spend some quality time with friends and family.
  • See your doctor when you are sick.

View sources

1 Caring for the caregiver. National Cancer Institute. Accessed June 12, 2017.

2 Caregiver stress. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Accessed June 12, 2017.

3 Clark MM (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. June 20, 2017.

4 Burnout Tips-Faithful Sense