24 Apr 4 Ways That Caregiving May Be Hurting You
Discover the challenges of family caregiving for a loved one and how you can cope.
Being a caregiver is often a full-time job. Between juggling all of the priorities and the heavy burden of providing care to a loved one in need, caregiver burnout is only natural and to be expected. While you may be overcome with feelings of guilt, it is certainly nothing to be ashamed of.
The demands placed upon the caregiver are so persistent, so often “in your face” that it is only to be expected to want to escape. Perhaps it’s digging into a good book, another place, or maybe something that is equally distracting from the harsh realities of the caregiver’s life. Over 60 percent of caregivers also balance a job in addition to their caregiving duties.
How caregiving may be hurting you
Caregiving can be a rewarding prospect for the family member. The chance to support a loved one is a fulfilling one indeed. However, it can easily overwhelm caregivers. Review the following 4 ways that caregiving may adversely impact your life.
As caring for your loved one becomes a top priority, your family environment and atmosphere is likely to change as family members take on new responsibilities. Especially if your loved one moves in with you, you and other family members in the house will need to adjust to a new home dynamic that includes your loved one and their illness.
Relationships may grow stronger and healthier or experience strain as you shift responsibilities. If you are caring for a parent, the reversal of the caregiving role can be unsettling for both of you. Be patient during this time of adjustment and understand that everyone, including the loved one needing care, are fighting individual battles of change.
Getting care from a loved one or family member can be one of the best ways for a recipient to get loving support. In addition, it can save a loved one a lot of money by not having to pay for a home care worker or assisted living. However, it can take its toll financially in other ways.
Many family caregivers are adult children or other loved ones that are still a part of the workforce. A large number of them make the decision to stop working full-time in order to provide care either part- or full-time. Naturally, this creates a major impact through lost wages, productivity, and reduced future earnings by missing out on raises and promotions, especially in the middle of one’s career.
On top of that, caregivers need to shell out for a variety of other expenses. These include the cost of transportation, any hired help they implement, medical supplies and equipment, and potential medical bills that accumulate over time.
In other cases, like loved ones that are in the role of caregiver and are retired or not working, they may be pressed financially through a fixed income and costs that they find may escalate beyond what is expected.
Mental Health and Well-Being
Furnishing routine support and care to a loved one is likely to leave you adversely impacted both emotionally and mentally. In addition to caregiver stress, many caregivers experience elevated levels of anxiety and depression. When caregiving and juggling one’s own life becomes overwhelming, they often succumb to loneliness and social isolation. Caregivers ten to neglect their own mental well-being and happiness for the sake of providing their loved one support and care.
In evaluating the various ways that caregiving can impact your life, mental health can be the easiest to control, even if you feel like it’s the farthest out of reach. This is because we can shape how we respond to stress and situations. You may have to work, take the kids to soccer, and grab groceries for your loved one all at once. While it may be stressful and burdensome, we can still control our response to that stress. Caregivers that consider taking part in support groups with others in the same situation can find comfort and reassurance from discussing their challenges and struggles. Plus, caregivers can share tips and best practices for a host of things, from how to best provide direct care to how to juggle the needs of your family and your loved one in need.
Caring for a family member can give rise to the symptoms of experiencing a persistently stressful experience. This includes continuous strain on one’s mental and physical health. If a loved one faces diminishing health, such as with chronic conditions or dealing with the effects of dementia, caregiving is a major challenge. Caregiver burden and associated high levels of stress can wreak havoc on your physical health.
Some common consequences of stress on a caregiver include regular fatigue, a lack of exercise, subpar sleep schedule, bad diet, high blood pressure and general exhaustion. At the expense of providing care for others, caregivers tend to neglect their own health, putting off doctor’s visits and other important appointments, and rarely have the luxury of taking time off for relaxation or even properly recovering from an illness under the call of providing for their loved one. In addition, caregivers even report experiencing more heart problems than those who aren’t caregivers which is cause for alarm.
You aren’t alone
If you are like many caregivers, you probably have a difficult time asking for help. Regrettably, this viewpoint can lead to feelings of frustration, isolation, or even depression.
Rather than struggling on your own, recognize your needs and when help might be beneficial. Take advantage of local caregiving resources and other methods to overcome the burden and stress associated with caregiving. Read our blog about recognizing and helping with caregiver burden. You may also benefit from top books for caregivers and a variety of blogs dedicated to caregiver resources and support.
Chosen Family Home Care offers relevant and regularly updated resources for caregivers to manage the challenges they face regularly through our insights. We provide the tools and knowledge for family members in need to excel and stay healthy while thriving at home. In addition, we offer supportive at-home care services for Philadelphia-area senior and disabled residents that need a little extra help with activities of daily living or respite care to allow family caregivers a much needed break.