Photo credit: https://gentleshepherdbaptist.blogspot.com/2011/01/?m=0
“YOUR DAD IS HAVING AN AFFAIR,” my mom blurted out accusingly the instant I walked into her room.
“I don’t think so, mom,” I reassured her while heaving a big sigh.
“I’ll show you who it is. Don’t look…there she is,” she grumbled under her breath trying to be a sleuth on a mission when we reached our walking-the-hallway destination.
My mom had dementia. She lived in the Lighthouse, which is a locked facility for Alzheimer’s/Dementia residents at the Good Samaritan Village. She was quite independent in spite of not having a memory or an understanding of life.
My dad also had Alzheimer’s but was in a wheel chair so he could not be in the Lighthouse with her (thank goodness). 😮 And, for crying out loud, he could not be having an affair.
The lady my mom suspected of being my dad’s “mistress” also had Alzheimer’s and needed assistance walking. Good grief…
…my poor mother.
I was exhausted from my mom’s peculiar behavior. I visited her almost every day at Good Sam, and after a few years of this bizarre conduct I was exhausted!!! Being the only child still alive, I was her caregiver. And quite frankly…I was BURNED OUT!
“You suck as a teacher,” hollered the 8th grade boy.
“All I am asking, Billy, is that you take off your bandana,” the teacher calmly asked for the umpteenth time. “Our district rule is no bandanas in school.”
“Not taking it off, you bitch!” Then Billy continued to threaten this teacher by writing in his notebook… I know where your daughter lives.
The above educator is a teacher of middle school students, and she is exhausted!!! She is their daytime caregiver. And quite frankly…she is BURNED OUT!
Caregiving is a tough job, but…
…someone has to do it.
Thomas Hoerr shared with us in his ASCD article (2017) that even though caregivers are usually associated with the medical field, caregiver burnout also applies to educators.
To our SMSU teachers just beginning your first time teaching position this fall…don’t let this become you! Be aware of caregiver/teacher burnout. If you think you are being gripped by caregiver burnout talons, there is help to break free.
Prevention is key! WebMD offers several suggestions for caregiver burnout. Learn what causes it and how to prevent it by clicking here: http://www.webmd.com/women/caregiver-recognizing-burnout#3 (it’s for you guys too).
According to Ben Johnson (2014), writer for Edutopia, here are a few ways to evade teacher (caregiver) burnout:
- Have fun with the students
- Take care of your health
- Learn something new and share it with your students
- Make someone’s day
- Lighten up
- Look for the positive
- Trust your students
And may I add to this list…
- Find humor and joy each and every single day
The new school year will be starting very soon, and I have always loved the beginning. Novice and veteran teachers…no matter how much you love it, there will come a time when you feel drained…wiped out…exhausted.
Whether you are taking care of an elderly parent or taking care of other people’s children, caregiving is hard work. Promise me you will take care of YOU.