Caregiving is terribly underrated but so very critical. More than 64 million Americans are caregivers. My mother is a caregiver for my father, my mother in-law is a caregiver for my father in-law and many are caregiver for their loved ones. Caregiving can be a short-term responsibility but most of the time it is a long-term responsibility; The person being cared for is either in declining health, older adults and/or has a disorder or handicap which makes caring for themselves a challenge or just impossible.
Caregiving most often falls on the shoulders of females, approximately seventy-five percent of caregivers are women and many are juggling full-time jobs and parenting. Also, studies suggest that caregiving takes a toll on the physical and mental health of the caregiver; financial problems, family relationships, friendships, quality of life and overall stress has been reported, as well as, having a negative impact on the caregiver. Even though caregiving has traditionally been a women’s role men are also caregivers and experience the same issues as women. However, men are most likely to hire someone to help them. Men are also faced with learning new skills to aid them as they become a caregiver. Check out these resources for caregiving support. Administration on aging (AoA) http://www.aoa.gov , http://alturl.com/b5ze5 and the caregiver magazine http://www.caregiver.commagazineindex.htm. Sometimes just developing your own support group of friends and other caregivers can be helpful.
CNN recently had a commentary on Compassion Fatigue in which the mental and physical challenges of the caregiver were discussed and self-help treatments were recommended. Of course, you can find many books dedicated to this phenomenon; check your local library or Amazon.
We so often focus on the caregiver but what about the person needing the care. It has been reported that the adult person needing care often feels guilty, full of anxiety, depressed by what they cannot do and what the caregiver is doing and the sacrifices that are being made by the caregiver. What are the challenges you’re facing?