A caregiver is a family member or paid helper who regularly looks after a child or a sick, elderly, or disabled person. Family caregivers refer to family of origin, extended family, domestic partners, friends, or other individuals that support another person. Family provides 80% of the long-term care in the U.S. Most caregivers are women in their 40’and 50’s, many are “sandwiched” between children and parents, and some are spouses and are themselves elderly.
Being a caregiver is a job that requires deep humanity and dedication. Yet, caregiving is becoming a normative life challenge; and it is a complex one. Being in a caregiving position, many times offers particular challenges: lack of time, loss of energy, emotional stress, financial pressure, difficulty setting priorities, guilt, long distance caregiving, etc. It is important for the caregiver to find support, and a social community. There is comfort in knowing you are not alone. Reach out, ask for help, and know your resources. From exploring a trusted website, to attending support groups, to accessing therapeutic support, these resources are there for you.
Throughout these resources, you can find educational modules on a variety of caregiving topics, as well as online communities, and the opportunity to value and exercise your own caregiving ability, taking care of yourself.
The Caregiver Action Network provides 10 valuable tips for family caregivers:
- Seek support from other caregivers.
- Take care of your own health so you can be strong enough to take care of your loved one.
- Accept offers to help and suggest specific things people can do to help you.
- Learn how to communicate effectively with doctors.
- Caregiving is hard work so take respite breaks often.
- Watch out for signs of depression and don’t delay getting professional help when you need it.
- Be open to new technologies that can help you take care of your loved one.
- Organize medical information so it is up to date and easy to find.
- Make sure legal documents are in order.
- Give yourself credit for doing the best you can in one of the toughest jobs there is!
If you find yourself struggling with the emotional demands of being a caregiver, remember that SamaraCare can help. A caring and understanding counselor can encourage and support you as a caregiver, and can help lighten the emotional load a caregiver often carries. If you would like more information, please call 630 357-2456.
Thanks for the work you do caregivers!