There is nothing that a compassionate caregiver wouldn’t give to be there for a loved one, friend, or family member. But responding to the continual, sometimes overwhelming, and growing needs of a loved one by simply doing more and more, even out of pure compassion and love, can affect the caregiver. Due to the complex nature of caregiving, caregivers are at higher risk for developing stress-related illnesses, including higher levels of depression. It’s not just the physical demands of caregiving but also the psychological aspects that can contribute to stress for the caregiver, affecting their physical, mental, and emotional well-being.
According to a recent National Alliance for Care Giving and AARP survey, almost 53 million Americans, more than one in five, are providing non-paid caregiving services to a family member or friend. People may become caregivers out of necessity with little knowledge or experience of how to do this and all that it encompasses. What many don’t realize is that the long-term effects of just being there for someone, assisting with activities of daily living, running errands, helping with financial needs, and adjusting to symptoms of various illnesses or cognitive issues and emotions that all come along with it all can take a personal toll on the caregiver.
So, what does the caregiver do? Often they keep pushing through it, taking on more physical and mental stress, and before you know it, the caregiver’s health is suffering. According to public affairs research, more than one-third of caregivers continue to provide care while neglecting their own health, which is not good for either party.
As we embark on the holiday season, a time of year that can bring even more stress because of added personal demands, it could be a time to evaluate what effect caregiving is having on both the person being cared for and any possible health risks and issues it poses to the caregiver.
One of the concerns we hear is that we can’t be sons and daughters to our parents because there is so much stress and frustration dealing with and navigating health care for our loved one that it often jeopardizes the relationships. Sometimes the guilt that is produced because of fear keeps people from being open-minded about the benefits being in a community can have on a loved one.
One of the benefits of an Assisted Living community is that it can help relieve caregiver stress. With your loved one’s day-to-day needs provided, it allows you quality time to visit your parent or loved one and to focus your energy on and enjoy the social aspects and good conversations while they are receiving the care and support for health issues that were once a stress for you. Their daily needs are met, their health needs are coordinated for you, and they receive the socialization they need.
What is treasured most is the quality of time with the person, not the clothes washed, errands run, monitoring in the home, or cleaning and upkeep of the house. The most important part is the time you spend with your loved one.
One of the benefits of an Assisted Living community is that it can help relieve caregiver stress. With your loved one’s day-to-day needs, including assistance with bathing, dressing, food preparation, medication monitoring, and more provided, it allows you quality time to visit your parent or loved one and to focus your energy on and enjoy the social aspects and good conversations while they are receiving the care and support for health issues that were once a stress for you.