Often, when caring for someone, it’s easy to focus our attention completely on the person physically showing signs of need. However, sometimes the caregiver stands in great need of care themselves.
Caregivers are the backbone to the seniors-in-need community. They are the ones who do all the “behind-the scenes” work to keeping their loved one happy, comfortable, safe, and healthy. From feeding, bathing, and running around to doctors appointments, to managing medications, managing the finances, and taking care of the home. There are countless responsibilities on the shoulders of a caregiver. It’s not an easy job. In fact, it’s a job that comes without a payment, often goes unrecognized, and comes with a lot of health complications:
Physical Health Effects
The task of caregiving takes a toll on someone physically. In 2008, a survey revealed that 17% of caregivers admitted to feeling that their overall health had worsened as a direct result of caregiving.
When it comes to caregiving, almost one third of family caregivers surveyed reported their health to be in the fair to poor range. The more demanding a caregiving job is, the more likely the the caregiver is to have poor health. Other factors that come into play with poorer physical health among caregivers are those who:
- Have been providing care for one year or longer
- Care for seniors
- Care for loved ones with Alzheimer’s or dementia
- Live with the recipient
- Are over age 65
- Are females
- Work full-time
Mental Health Effects
The physical demands placed upon a caregiver aren’t the only health hazard facing them. The psychological and emotional strain from caregiving can also pose a real threat. Studies report that caregivers are at a higher risk for developing mental health disorders themselves. Studies also show that 40%-70% of family caregivers experience serious signs of depression.
Depending on the caregiver’s situation, caregiving can also be a considerable strain on finances, employment, education, and marriage.
The American Psychological Association states that:
Family caregivers … often lack support networks or the time to access available support networks, and there is evidence that social support networks dwindle over time in many caregiving scenarios, resulting in a sense of isolation.
Caregivers need to be recognized and cared for themselves in order to help avoid many of these issues. Caregivers should be honored for their time, commitment, love, and sacrifice they put forth into taking care of a loved one. This is why National Caregivers Day was initiated, to recognize those who often go unnoticed or seem invisible, but are doing something of great worth.
National Caregivers Day was held last Friday, February 15. But we believe in celebrating caregivers for more than just one day–which is why we’ve compiled a list of things you can do every day to help relieve the demands placed upon a caregiving friend:
- Invite your friend over for a drink and time to chat/ catch up
- Go for a walk together
- Play a game together
- Offer to give them a break for a short time so they can get out
- Mow their lawn/ Shovel their driveway
- Offer to go grocery shopping for them
- Take over a meal
- Ask how you can help them
- Write them a genuine, heartfelt note
- Offer to help clean their home
- Weed their flowerbed/ rake their leaves
- Offer home repair work
- Give them a gift
- Have a movie night in together
- Share a treat
- Offer to pickup any medications
- Take out their garbage
- Help them with their daily errands
- Bring them their favorite soda
- Share your time with them
- Listen to them
- Make a music playlist for them
- Bring a favorite activity to them
- Share some favorite memories together
It doesn’t really matter WHAT you do, so long as you are genuine. Sometimes caregivers just need some time alone to themselves, and sometimes they just need a distraction or someone to talk to.
We understand the demands of a family caregiver. Let us at PrimRose Care help relieve you. By choosing PrimRose, you can be confident your loved one will receive first-class clinical care that will be expertly delivered and coordinated in collaboration with your loved one’s doctor. Contact us at 435-787-1369 today to see how we can help.