Researchers have attempted to understand the demands of being a dementia caregiver.
Findings suggest that familial caregivers experience a range of difficulties such as burden (van der Lee et al., 2014) and burnout (Astrom, Nilsson, Norberg, Sandman, & Winblad, 1991).
Burnout is common in human service workers and has been described as “physical, emotional, or mental exhaustion, especially in one’s job or career, accompanied by decreased motivation, lowered performance, and negative attitudes towards oneself and others” (VandeBos, 2007, p.140).
Three different dimensions of burnout have been identified; emotional exhaustion, depersonalisation and decreased personal accomplishment (Maslach & Jackson, 1981). Emotional exhaustion refers to the reduction of emotional resources leading to irritability and fatigue. Depersonalisation comprises of a carer attempting to emotionally distance themselves from the care recipient and personal accomplishment is how competent an individual feels in their work.