According to the Family Caregiver Alliance, “the “typical” U.S. caregiver is a 46-year-old woman who works outside the home and spends more than 20 hours per week providing unpaid care to her mother. Most caregivers are married or living with a partner.”
Chances are that many of you reading this blog are in that or a similar situation. With the 65+ age group expected to double to 70 million people by 2030, the numbers of these family caregivers will naturally increase proportionally. Caregivers, particularly family members, are at increased risk for health problems and burnout.
There are a number of things you can do to take care of yourself, stay healthy, and prevent burnout, including:
- Ask others for help. …
- Get support. …
- Be honest with yourself. …
- Talk to other caregivers. …
- Take regular breaks. …
- Attend social activities. …
- Pay attention to your feelings and needs. …
- Take care of your health.
The healthcare community – providers, payers, and health insurance companies – are aware of these statistics and poised to help.
Those who are caring for a family member who is a veteran or receiving Medicaid are in the best position for assistance. This article outlines how caregivers can be financially compensated.
VITAS Healthcare, a hospice service provider in 14 states and the District of Columbia provides support for family caregivers. They realize that 30% of them describe the experience as stressful and help them recognize the signs and symptoms of burnout. CLICK HERE to read more on this topic.
The Cleveland and Mayo Clinic both provide information and assistance to family caregivers regarding burnout and physical health concerns. A frank discussion with your primary care physician and your loved one’s physician is a great start in taking control of your caregiving situation. The single most recognized action for preventing burnout or physical illness is joining a community of fellow caregivers.
The Family Caregiver Alliance at www.caregiver.org is a resource that all caregivers should have in their list of favorite websites. They provide education, advocacy, and an opportunity to connect with other caregivers. Sharing your experience with those in similar caregiver situations helps relieve stress and allows you to get ideas for better caregiving. CLICK HERE for more on caregiving.
While each caregiving situation is a unique one, the role as a family caregiver is not. Your caring and compassion are so valuable and especially valued by your patient. On behalf of our generation, our communities, and our clients, the owners at Golden Bridges thank you.
Susan Scholz, Partner
CLICK HERE for Cleveland Clinic article on “Caregiver Burnout”
CLICK HERE for Mayo Clinic article on “Caregiver Stress”