Caring for a loved one can be very challenging and time-consuming. It requires unceasing vigor, compassion and patience. Imagine someone who has worked all day long at work, and then going home to serve as a caregiver for a disabled spouse or loved one, or an aging parent. It can really be a daunting task.
The seniors, most especially, require some type of care in their later years and it’s common for a family member to step in and help. However, whether you have a family or career to attend to, it is only essential to find a way to carry out your responsibilities, at the same time, provide the support your loved one needs to push ahead.
The place of a caregiver cannot be overestimated in our society. That is why today, the home healthcare and caregiving industry is expanding speedily because more people need care. As a greater number of people grow older, the demand for caregiving also increases. There is no doubt that caregiving brings about diverse benefits to the ones involved such as bonded relationships, sense of purpose and well-being. However, there are a few challenges family caregivers face at one time or another. Caregivers often complain of some overwhelming, worrisome or intimidating tasks they are left to complete daily.
COMMON CHALLENGES EXPERIENCED BY CAREGIVERS
Anyone can assume the position of a caregiver. If you are caring for a loved one, it is important to know the challenges associated with caregiving, so that you’re able to address them if you need to. They include :
- FINANCIAL HARDSHIPS
Caregiving is really time consuming. Caregivers tend to spend more time caring for their loved ones. The employed ones miss a significant number of days of work. Leading to them receiving little or no pay at work. It can as well lead to job loss. Some family caregivers might also have to bear the financial costs of their loved one’s medical treatments. Since they do not also get paid for their caregiving duties, they often experience financial hardships.
- ISSUES WITH TIME MANAGEMENT
Caregivers tend to spend so much time on their caregiving duties that they have little time for themselves or other family members. They, in most cases, have to sacrifice things they enjoy such as their favorite hobbies and vacations. They also have difficulties harmonizing their work schedules with caregiving.
- DETERIORATING HEALTH CONDITIONS
Caring for a loved one can be so challenging that it often takes a toll on the health conditions of the caregiver. They usually go through emotional, mental and physical stress. For instance, caring for a loved one who has mobility challenges can be physically tiring because it will involve lifting and helping with movement. Also, caring for a loved one suffering from chronic conditions like dementia can be even more challenging as it is emotionally stressful. The stress they go through do have negative effects on their health conditions.
- SLEEP DEPRIVATION
Some family caregivers often get little or no sleep. Most especially when taking care of a loved one suffering from Alzheimer’s disease which can lead to a sleep-wake cycle, this can in turn lead to sleep deprivation for the family caregiver. Also, trying to balance a career and caregiving duties or caring for other members of the family can be sleep depriving. Regrettably, lack of sleep can bring about negative effects on the overall health and well-being of the caregiver.
- ISOLATION AND DEPRESSION
Since caregiving duties take up most of family caregivers’ spare time, it becomes impracticable for them to maintain important social connections in their lives. They have little or no time to go out to the movies, go out to dinners or meet with friends. They are usually engulfed in their caregiving responsibilities. Consequently, their risk for depression due to social isolation is extremely high.
- FEELINGS OF GUILT
Most caregivers are afraid to seek help from others or professionals. They usually feel ashamed to do so because they see it as a sign of weakness or that their loved one might feel disappointed. Consequently, they feel guilty whenever they see their loved ones’ health deteriorate because they think that they are not giving them the best care that they deserve.
- LACK OF PRIVACY
In situations of homes with smaller spaces, family caregivers often complain about lack of privacy in the home once they’ve taken on a loved one to care for. It can be challenging to set boundaries to get away from constant interactions.
THE IMPORTANCE OF SEEKING CAREGIVER SUPPORT
If you have someone you are caring for, it is expedient to recognize that you are doing the best you possibly can. When you are putting so much effort into your caregiving duties, you may start to fail to attend to your own well-being, which can negatively impact your physical, emotional, mental and financial health. Do not forget that taking care of others means taking care of yourself.
This is where seeking caregiver support or respite care services become very important to staying healthy and enjoying a high quality of life. Respite care or a short-term stay at an assisted living community can provide a temporary break from your caregiving duties so you can attend to your own needs, like run errands, visit the doctor or take a vacation. You can as well, join a caregiver support group, this can be extremely beneficial to your health, as you will have the opportunity to meet and share knowledge with others going through similar experiences.
Caregiving comes with different challenges despite its variety of benefits such as strengthened relationships, sense of purpose and well-being. Caregivers may have different experiences but they usually share common challenges which affect their mental, financial, physical and emotional health negatively. As a caregiver, it is of great importance to seek a balance between caregiving and your own life. Giving yourself a break is not a sign of weakness or letting your loved ones down. You can seek respite services which allows you to take a break from your caregiving duties in order to be able to attend to your own health needs and to pursue other interests.