Caring for The Family Caregiver

Posted: 10/22/2014 10:54 AM by Interim HealthCare
Learn About The Signs of Caregiver Burnout, and What You Can Do to Help

As a family caregiver, you are most likely to be thinking about other people before yourself. To some extent this is a natural tendency, especially for caregivers. Yet it’s a verified concept that you can’t take care of someone else if you haven’t taken care of yourself first. When you immerse yourself in the care of others with the exclusion of your own care, you find yourself in burnout.

Consider the following news item about family caregiving:

Currently, there is a massive unpaid labor force that is at risk every day because of the care they provide. There are an estimated 44 million Americans age 18 and older providing unpaid assistance and care to older people and adults with disabilities. This means that more than 7% of the United States population is providing untrained, uncompensated care for family members in their communities.

The value of this unpaid labor is estimated to be at $306 billion annually. This is more than double the combined cost of home health care – $43 billion – and nursing home care – $115 billion. More troubling is the fact that nearly one third of caregivers provide intensive care while suffering from poor care themselves.

Aside from being ill-prepared or poorly trained for the rigors of providing care, these 44 million Americans are creating future health problems for themselves. Studies have shown that an influential factor in a caregiver’s decision to place an elderly relative in a long-term care facility is the physical health of the family’s caregiver.

Emotional, mental, and physical health problems trouble caregivers due to the complex situations that often arise from caring for a relative. Employment and even the caregiver’s own immediate family may suffer from taking on the extra burden of looking after a disabled family member or elderly parent.

Unfortunately, the healthcare system has created few improvements for these at-risk caregivers. Families are being asked to shoulder greater care burdens for longer periods of time, with little hope of improvement or financial assistance. Studies have shown that caregivers are also more likely to lack adequate healthcare themselves, creating further healthcare problems.  Ultimately, these burdens and health risks create more expensive health care costs and can affect the quality of life for both the caregiver and care receivers.

This knowledge lays the foundation of the importance of time off for the caregiver. Some type of respite is needed, and it is needed on a regular basis. This respite may be available from one or more of a number of sources:

·         Home care for the elderly
·         Family caregivers
·         Community senior programs
·         Faith community
·         Neighbors

No matter where the help comes from, the family caregiver needs it.

If you have an aging loved one and are considering home care services, contact Interim HealthCare today. G+