Avoiding Caregiver Burnout

There are so many things for a caregiver to do after someone has a stroke that the caregiver can get overwhelmed and ultimately have burnout. Debbie, my wife and caregiver when I had my stroke eighteen years ago quickly realized that life cannot completely revolve around me, the survivor. While it is a typical situation after a traumatic event which a stroke is, it’s not healthy or productive.

A way Debbie found to avoid burnout was to maintain her outside activities. Debbie continued to teach school and even kept teaching her Adult Education women’s exercise class several evenings a week.

She recommends others do the same. However if the caregiver is employed you might let the supervisor know about the situation and hopefully get a bit of slack. In this manner the caregiver will not be in an overly stressed out situation if during the work day they have to make calls or do other caregiver tasks having nothing to do with work.

Other factors in avoiding burnout were treated in a study I found which was published a few months ago in Stroke Connection, the American Heart Association publication. The study noted:

  • That “older, active and confident caregivers were the happiest;”
  • Being and staying in better physical health was important to avoid burnout;
  • And continuing with hobbies and activities as Debbie did was most helpful to caregiver well being.

Another issue in burnout is personal caregiver stress. I found a study out of Northwestern Medicine which addressed this issue and found that-

The greatest amount of stress emanated not from the patient, but rather from friends and relatives. I was frankly surprised. Relatives and friends often showed, “a lack of understanding and help” according to the study. That actually could be a threat to the caregiver’s own well being. Clearly, not good!  Debbie said that though she fortunately didn’t experience that stress she met others who had. The stress came from second guessing which can often be very emotional and destructive.

And finally family tensions in connection with money and long-term financial considerations can lead to caregiver emotionalism and ultimately burnout. All, less than constructive!

Hail the caregiver and give them support, not aggravation!


Author Bob Mandell is a stroke survivor and the author of the forthcoming book, Stroke Victor, How to Go from Stroke Victim to Stroke Victor which will be published in February 2015.

The picture is of Bob and his wife caregiver, Debbie

Stroke Victor: Out, About, Involved & Active!

For the past eighteen years Bob Mandell has battled to recover from a massive stroke that left him in a nursing home at 53. Incontinent, paralyzed on one side and in a wheel chair, unable to speak, think, write, or do much of anything else, his life turned into a disaster! Fast forward to today: life after stroke can be beautiful. Bob remains out, about, involved and active.

Here are some of the conferences and events that Bob has attended recently this year.

The Canadian Partnership for Stroke Recovery was held in Ottawa, Canada June 9-10, 2014. The meeting was held to discuss new research in stroke recovery and after stroke considerations. The research is currently in various stages of investigation and approval. Bob was honored to be invited to be a media person at the scientific meeting. Above is Bob with Dr. Dale Corbett (left) and Dan McEwen, a PH.D. student (right). 



The Affiliate Summit was held in New York at the Marriott Marquis on Aug 9-12 2014.

About 4,000 marketing professionals attended to discuss affiliate marketing techniques, deal making, and to network about their interests. Bob was invited to attend and he spent time learning how to  use some of these techniques. The plan is to incorporate some of these methodologies in his Stroke Victor initiative which is in the planning stages. He met with speakers as well as many attendees who were in support of this important effort.

Pictured to the left is Bob with Keynote speaker Dr. Julie Gurner and Affiliate Summit founders Shawn Collins and Missy Ward.