My grandmother was one of 65.7 million caregivers in the United States as she provided care for her parents. She was also one of 14.9 million caregivers who cared for someone who had Alzheimer’s Disease. For over five years, she, my grandmother, cooked, cleaned, bathed, and comforted my great-grandparents on a daily basis. She, like many care givers, did this without much assistance or respite care.
November is National Family Caregiver’s Month . This is a time to recognize the millions of family caregivers in the United States. Family caregivers, in my opinion, are amazing, self-less individuals, who provide not only care, but love to those whom they care for.
Tasks and Errands
My grandmother cared for her parents daily. She did the shopping, the cooking, the cleaning, and the laundry. She was also responsible for their transportation to doctors appointments and administering their medication. She was their primary caregiver. Her siblings, children, and grandchildren helped her when their schedules permitted, but in hindsight, we did not provide enough respite care for my grandmother. We, like many caregivers were unaware of the various agencies and organizations available to assist those who provide care to their family members.
If you are a family caregiver and need help or respite care, contact your local Health and Human Services Department , Social Service Department, or Public Health Department; there are also various agencies and organizations available to assist you in providing care to your loved ones. You do not have to do this alone!
Working and Being a Caregiver
Now my mother is stepping into the role of being a caregiver to her parents. My mother currently works full-time while assisting both of her parents. Both of my grandparents do not need around the clock care at this point, but my mother does have to juggle work and assisting her parents from time to time. Like my mother, many caregivers have to either miss or leave work early for doctor appointments. This can be very stressful for both the caregiver and the employer.
According to Caregiver , 70% of caregivers who work, suffer from work-related difficulties. Of those caregivers “69% report having to rearrange their work schedule, decrease their hours or take an unpaid leave in order to meet their caregiving responsibilities.” If you are working and providing care to a loved one, there are many options available to assist you such as adult day care or hiring in-home help.
Caring for a loved one part-time or full-time can be very stressful. This added stress can effect the caregivers health. According to Caregiver “11% of family caregivers report that caregiving has caused their physical health to deteriorate.” “21% of older caregivers caring for those 65+ report a higher degree of physical strain, compared to 13% who are younger.” Emotional health can is also effected by being a family caregiver. According to Caregiver , “40% to 70% of family caregivers have clinically significant symptoms of depression which about a quarter to half of these caregivers meeting the diagnostic criteria for major depression.”
The above statistics are not meant to scare one out of being a caregiver, but to bring awareness about the effects being a caregiver can have. If you know someone who is a caregiver, offer to help when you can, run errands for them, and offer them respite breaks. Being a caregiver is one of the hardest jobs a person can do. This “job” is challenging and at times it is physically and emotionally exhausting. For all of those who are family care providers, I want to commend you on all that you do. I urge those capable of providing assistance to caregivers to provide whatever they can. Remember, you may be a caregiver someday, and at a future date, you, yourself could possibly be under someones care.