As the American population ages, more caregiving is being provided by people who aren’t healthcare professionals. It’s estimated that 1 in 3 adults in the U.S. provides care to other adults as informal caregivers. And as the population continues to age, family members’ responsibilities to act as caregivers will increase.
All too often, family members and friends acting as caregivers go unrecognized. Rarely is their invaluable contribution to people’s lives acknowledged. It’s evident from the high incidence of caregiver stress that they need and deserve as much support and care as possible.
Why Family Caregivers Need Support
Caregivers play a vital role in providing care for their sick or disabled loved ones. However, caregivers also need support to increase their chances of having a healthy and effective caregiving experience over the long haul.
Here are five reasons why caregivers must get support and care:
1. It can be complicated caring for someone sick or disabled. Caregivers must possess a wide variety of skills to meet the needs of their loved one. While some caregivers provide emotional support, others might provide help with lawn care and grocery shopping, and yet others provide total care and assistance for their loved one. Caregivers must be versatile and well-prepared for the many aspects of providing care for a sick or disabled person requiring care. They wear many hats.
2. Caregiving can feel like a thankless job. Many people don’t know or understand all that is involved in caregiving, so they often don’t think of showing appreciation to the caregiver. Caregivers need to educate friends and family about what caregiving entails and, if possible, ask them for help when needed.
3. Caregiving is easy to start but hard to quit. Caring for a family member or close friend isn’t like having a regular job. Often the hours aren’t set, the role changes with the needs of the loved one, and there is an emotional bond that isn’t often present in the traditional workplace setting.
4. Caregiving often requires a long-term commitment. The majority of caregivers provide care for a loved one over an extended period. The average length of time caregivers spend in their role often exceeds five years or more.
5. Caregiving can be lonely. If a caregiver doesn’t have outlets or support, they may end up feeling isolated and alone.
Positive Results From Caregiver Support
The outcomes of support and care for caregivers are very positive. Studies show that caregivers receiving support are less upset by a person’s memory problems. Support can also lessen depression and the severity of depression. There is a positive correlation between caregivers being happy with their social support and feeling less stressed.
This benefits not only the caregiver but the people they are caring for as well. When a caregiver is supported and less stressed, there is a reduced rate of admission to nursing homes because caregivers are more likely to stay with it when they’re not experiencing as much stress. In other words, the supported caregiver can tolerate the situation better.
How Can You Support a Caregiver?
How can you provide support and care for the caregiver in your life? The gift of time is the most valuable gift you can give them. Donate some of your time so they can enjoy a break from caregiving.
Some practical ways to do that are:
- Cook a meal and deliver it to them
- Offer to run errands – grocery shopping, pharmacy pick-up, holiday shopping
- Sit with the loved one while the caregiver gets a break
- Take them to a movie, restaurant, or other event and pick up the tab
- Decorate their house for the holidays
- Get their lawn and garden prepared for winter by raking leaves, cleaning up flowerbeds, and cleaning gutters
- Offer to find a caregiver’s support group, then offer to stay with the person needing care so the caregiver can attend meetings
Reliable Respite Care for Family Caregivers
Providing a caregiver with the help of a respite caregiver is an act of kindness they’ll never forget. To prevent debilitating stress and caregiver burnout, regular respite care keeps a caregiver feeling supported and cared for and gives them the break they need and deserve.
At First In Care, we know how important it is to have a respite caregiver you can trust. All of our caregivers complete a training program to deliver individualized senior care, and they’re all insured for your peace of mind.
Our family trusted services in Manatee County, FL, include respite care, companionship care, personal care, medication reminders, transportation, and even 24-hour care. For your added convenience, all our home care amenities can be individually combined into an affordable package that accommodates your budget. To learn more about First In Care now, please visit us at www.firstincare.com.