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Letters to the Editor

Rest, ye merry caregivers

Joanette Clipson December 7th, 2011

The holidays are a natural time to enjoy family and get-togethers — sharing festive meals, exchanging gifts and celebrating traditions. But for the 65 million Americans taking care of someone with a life-limiting illness, finding holiday cheer can be difficult.

After months, or even years of absorbing a loved one’s pain, the added stress of the holidays can cause the sudden onset of a little-known condition called “compassion fatigue.”

Symptoms include irritability, outbursts of anger, difficulty concentrating and exhaustion. The caregiver feels unappreciated and may even have difficulty caring about others.

Who is most at risk? Often, they’re individuals who are caring for their loved one on their own. They’re devoted individuals who have few interests beyond caregiving. They lack external support.

If you or someone you know is at risk, it’s especially important to take care of yourself now. Set aside a few minutes each day for a quick nap, to write in a journal, or to meditate. Take a walk outside, spend some time with friends and enjoy your hobbies. Most important, surround yourself and your loved one with family. To make the most of this time and create enduring memories, rest, indulge in your favorite things and let the support of others surround you and your household with humor, comfort and joy.

—Joanette Clipson
Oklahoma City

Clipson is a bereavement coordinator with Crossroads Hospice.

Oklahoma Gazette provides an open forum for the discussion of all points of view in its Letters to the Editor section. The Gazette reserves the right to edit letters for length and clarity. Letters can be mailed, faxed, emailed to or sent online at, but include a city of residence and contact number for verification.

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12.07.2011 at 07:23 Reply

That's great advice.  

What if we have all those symptoms but aren't having to care for someone who is ill?  This is definitely an issue I am dealing with.