Common Challenges That Family Caregivers Face
The most recent study conducted by the AARP, in partnership with NAC (National Alliance for Caregiving), revealed that there are more than 43.5 million adults who have provided care to an adult or child but were unpaid in 2014. This is so unfortunate considering that family caregivers spend 24 hours a week on the average to care for a loved one. Some even go as far as spending over 40 hours per week when it comes to performing these duties. The burden is highest when care is given to a partner.
What is family caregiving, though?
It involves a multitude of tasks that are beyond those commonly performed for daily living. It can include bathing, and assisting a loved one when eating and dressing. It also goes as far as performing medical tasks which are usually part of a health care professional’s job. With all of these responsibilities, there are certainly a lot of challenges family caregivers face. Among them are the following:
This includes both emotional and physical stress. Statistics show that 22% of caregivers reported health problems resulting from caregiving. Think of chronic conditions that they have been attending to, like Alzheimer’s disease and anyone can just imagine the emotional stress that comes with it. It can also be burdensome when helping lift a person with mobility issues.
This is certainly an issue considering that family caregivers are unpaid. Financial strain can take a toll on them, most especially because they have to attend to a loved one, when in fact they can get hired for a paid job. The longer they have to perform such duties, the more financially problematic they will be.
“Me” time is always important for everyone but when you have to care for a family member, you will find it difficult having time for yourself. Caregivers face this issue a lot since they have to spend much time performing their caregiving duties. This can even go to the point of sacrificing things that they used to love doing, like vacation and recreation. On top of that, there can also be trouble juggling between their usual work schedule and that of caregiving.
Lack of Sleep
Sleep Deprivation is among the biggest issues family caregivers can face. The sleep-wake pattern can be messed up since they have to attend to varying sleeping patterns for their loved ones as well. This can result in a feeling of strain on their part.
Lack of Privacy
This is a feeling that caregivers often complain about, especially because they have to take care of a loved one within the confines of their homes. It becomes even more challenging when the home is built over a small space. Setting boundaries can be very difficult during these instances.
Caregiving duties can just isolate someone from other people or activities. As the caregiver becomes more focused on his or her responsibilities, there is a tendency to shy away from social connections. This can even lead to a greater challenge, that is, depression.
The good thing is that family caregivers can now ask help from “virtual assistants” like the HealthAssist Watch. This tool can help easily monitor medication notifications, without staying near the patient all the time. Missed doses and exams, as well as doctor’s appointments can also be tracked through this device.