Are you a caregiver?
Surprisingly, despite the fact that services provided by family caregivers represent 80% of all home care services and are conservatively valued at $257 billion a year, most people who provide care for a friend or family member don’t think of themselves as caregivers.
Caregivers who acknowledge their role are more likely to reach out for empowering resources than non-acknowledged caregivers.
Knowing this, The National Family Caregivers Association, has determined that the “common bond” that helps caregivers identify themselves is their unique understanding of the emotional impact of their role:
- The intense sadness felt when someone we care about has been surprised by a diagnosis or is losing their independence. The sadness comes from wanting the miracle of normalcy.
- The upheaval of changing family dynamics that occurs because life has been turned upside down. Contributing to the upheaval is the fact that there is no set timetable for working through the painful stages of transition, which caregivers and care receivers all experience in their own personal and private way.
- The isolation that comes from living outside the norm, from having everyday activities of life that everyone takes for granted – dressing, walking, toileting, breathing, thinking clearly - become such a big focus in your own life.
- The frustration experienced because it is so hard to get things done, because non-caregivers just don't understand and because people who are supposed to have the answers often don't.
- The stress felt because there isn’t enough personal time.
- And the “positive” – like the clever way a difficult problem gets solved and the power to make a difference.
- The fortitude to go on. The presence of enduring hope.
Family caregivers are a much appreciated health care resource.
Often times they are best at relaying everything that is going on with the patient.
Don't be afraid to ask questions and take notes during medical visits. Learn who the members of your care team are.
Ongoing emotional support and information are important, for both you and your loved one.