Caregivers have a very important role in society that can often be overlooked. 

As defined by the Government of Canada, a caregiver is “a family member or someone who is considered to be like family, providing care or support to the person who is critically ill or injured or needing end-of-life care.” 

Caregivers often place the needs of those whom they are caring for above their own needs, which can lead to burnout. 

In an interview with Rachel Sauve, Recreation Manager at AgeCare Sagewood, she discussed what caregiver burnout can look like and the importance of taking time for oneself. 

“Individuals who are caregivers dedicate a lot of effort to the person they are caring for. Caregivers spend a lot of time running around for the person they are caring for, and then their health gets put on the back burner. Most caregivers struggle with taking time for themselves because they believe it's selfish, and this leads to burnout,” Sauve said. 

Sauve compared caregiver burnout to the quote, “You can't pour from an empty cup.” 

“Caregivers give and give, but they aren't filling up their cups.” 

“Filling up your cup” is self-care. 

Self-care tasks that are routine for some can be a luxury for caregivers. 

Sauve said that self-care can be as simple as taking an uninterrupted hour out of your day to read a chapter of your favorite book, get a pedicure or manicure, or get a massage. 

“Anything that feeds back into your self-care will help you be better for the other person.” 

On top of burnout, caregivers struggle with stigmas placed upon them by society's expectations. 

According to Sauve, in smaller, tight-knit farming communities, like Strathmore, it can be difficult for caregivers to talk about their struggles and experiences due to stigmatization. 

“In this area, married couples' vows of death do us part are taken very seriously. Kids also face a lot of stigma because they find it difficult to ask for help to take care of the person who has been taking care of them their whole lives. Because of those ideologies, there is that stigma.” 

Another great resource that is available for caregivers in the community is a support group that runs once a month at AgeCare Sagewood in the adult support room and is hosted by Sauve and Joanne from Alberta Health Service. 

“New caregivers get the opportunity to talk to people who are either further along in the journey or are just starting too. It provides a variety of different perspectives.” 

The support group also helps caregivers determine the next steps. 

“The group helps caregivers because they can see Sagewood and ask questions about the facility or policies. It can help provide clarification and reassurance that there is something already in place, and hopefully, that can help them rest easy.” 

The caregiver group is free for anyone to attend. You can attend as much or as little as you feel is necessary. 

“Some people come all the time, and some only come when they hit those gravel patches in their journey where they may need advice or people to lean on.” 

The next caregiver support group meeting will be held on Tuesday, March 26 at 1:30 p.m. in the adult day support room in Sagewood.

Send your news tips, story ideas, pictures, and videos to