Caregiving can be rewarding work, it can be loving work - but it's work. Often hard work. While it's crucially important to take care of the caregiver, it can be really difficult to include oneself into the caregiving equation. The good news is, there's recognition of that work, and help is available from many different sources. The following are good places to start.
If caregiver stress becomes too much it can lead to depression, and to serious problems for both caregiver and the person they care for. But it can be difficult to recognize depression in the push to accomplish day-to-day tasks. Asking yourself the questions from this video can help.
The other sources linked here offer information and resources to help.
Support groups can be a huge help. These links offer tips on finding a support group that meets your needs - or if you can't find one, advice on how to start a support group.
Change for the person being cared for is often stressful - on the caregiver, too.
Caregiving can be expensive. One 2017 study estimates on average family caregivers spend $7,000. out of pocket each year. Lost wages if a caregiver has to cut back or quit work have the potential to be much more costly over time; other long-term issues are lost retirement, having to pay a higher price for the caregiver's own health insurance when not employed, etc. Caregiving also costs time, leaving less available for other commitments. Here are some possible ways to lessen those burdens.
For family caregivers who juggle work outside the home with caregiving, this wide-raging article points out several points to consider:
If a caregiver has to cut back on employment (or quit working outside of the home), that has a financial impact in the moment and into their future too. Look to these websites for useful information:
The Family and Medical Leave Act was intended to give some protections for employment when we need to take time to care for ourselves or others; however, this has a time limit. For more details, see:
For those who care for multiple generations - perhaps children as well as aging parents - the challenges multiply. There are many sources for advice on coping while in the sandwich generation. Here are some useful examples to start. (And please do look at resources for respite care!)
Be sure to discuss information gathered from these resources with your health care providers to see if it is relevant to your individual situation. Health and medical information accessed through these websites is not intended to substitute for or to replace the advice or instruction of a health care professional.
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