Chapter 5: Your own grief

Looking after yourself

The support worker says
Karen Campbell, developmental services worker talks about how the death of a resident and grief impacts the whole team.(3:22)Video transcript

The grief that people with intellectual disabilities experience is individualized, just like the rest of us.

As a caregiver, you are often responding to the needs of others. Your empathy and caring help you to provide good support, but unless you also care for yourself, you risk becoming overwhelmed by “

compassion fatique

Compassion fatigue  is a condition, characterized by emotional and physical exhaustion, leading to a diminished ability to empathize or feel compassion for others.

” If this happens, you will have less energy for and interest in the needs of other people, or even your own needs.

Each person’s grief evolves over time and in its own way. It may be repetitive and tiring for you to manage. In providing grief support, you need to also be kind to yourself, especially if you are also grieving the death.

What may help

  • Give thought to what holds meaning for you, and what nourishes and replenishes you.
  • Debrief with trusted colleagues and/or family and friends so that you receive support and minimize your risk of compassion fatigue or burnout.