Approximately 50 million Americans care for loved ones with a long-term or chronic illness, disability, or frailty. In fact, family caregivers provide over 75 percent of all caregiving support in the United States, supplying a wide range of emotional, social, homemaking, financial, and nursing services on a daily or intermittent basis.
As a caregiver, you will find that your patient has many physical and emotional needs that must be met − needs you may feel inadequate and ill-prepared to fulfill. Running errands and transporting your loved one to-and-from medical appointments and treatment sessions squeezes your time and results in having your own routine and family neglected at times. You may wonder how you can possibly get everything done.
Whether you were thrust into the role of caregiver suddenly or gradually over time, you may feel alone and overwhelmed by what is expected of you. Juggling caregiving demands with the demands of your own life on an ongoing basis inevitably leads to stress and exhaustion, and often triggers feelings of guilt and depression. After all, caring for a family member or friend isn’t something we’re automatically equipped to do.
While each caregiving circumstance is challenging and unique, learning some caregiving basics and practicing a few general strategies not only improves the quality of care for the patient, but also the caregiver’s experience. To assist you in your new role as caretaker, we’ve prepared a list of useful links. Please check these out by clicking on the topics of your choice.