Family caregivers are pillars of the community, and true heroes. These are people who give up their time, money and often large parts of their life to care for loved ones that need assistance due to age or illness. According to a study by the National Alliance for Caregiving, a quarter of the country's adult population works hard at helping loved ones deal with the effects of aging. Another study by the AARP called the Economic Value: Family Caregiving puts the value of such care at nearly half a trillion dollars.
According to SYNERGY HomeCare, there's another kind of number that is attached to such care -- the toll exacted on the caregiver. If you are a caregiver, you know how the cost occurs. It comes from the price that you need to pay when you help a loved one with their housekeeping, transportation, nursing, grooming and personal care needs, giving up time that you would give to a career, your family or your own personal development. These are sacrifices that are trying on your personal and mental well-being, even as they come with their own emotional rewards.
What happens when you go too far?
Caregiver stress can show up in a number of ways. From sleep deprivation, to being on constant call, to headaches, weight imbalances, guilt, irritability, depression and fatigue, the effects can be clear enough to anyone around you. Often, though, as you live in your situation day in and day out, it can be hard to actually know what to do, especially when there is a loved one completely dependent on what you are able to provide.
The effect on the quality of care provided
Caregivers tend to place the needs of their loved ones above their own for a very important reason: they have a powerful sense of right and wrong, and cannot stand the idea that their actions could cause suffering. If this is you, though, it's important to understand that a depressed and stressed caregiver is simply unable to offer the kind of care that is needed. Often, these effects can result in poor health overall. There's a great deal of research that shows the declining physical health of informal caregivers. Many experience increased blood pressure and insulin levels, impaired immune systems, and emotional duress which could prevent them from giving top-notch care to their loved ones.
There's a great deal that can be done
One of the most important things that you can do to help such a situation is to find others like yourself. Getting in touch with a caregiver support group can be immensely helpful. It can help you hear from others who feel the same feelings that you do. Once you see your feelings validated, you will learn a great deal about how to deal with them.
At SYNERGY HomeCare, we understand the importance of maintaining your quality of life. Let us lend a hand and care for your loved one. Our professional caregivers have the experience and expertise to provide the best elder care with a variety of services tailored to the needs of each individual. Your responsibilities will decrease, allowing you to experience more joy in the time spent with your family member. Give us a call today at (763) 205-4440. We have a team available to answer any questions you may have.