Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Caregiving

I hope you’re all enjoying this absolutely gorgeous day! It’s sunny and warm here. The trees are starting to show their lovely colors, and it actually feels like fall.

Today I’m thinking about the term “caregiving”. I’m sure many of you are one, in some form or other. Caregiving means being responsible for the care of another person who may not be fully able to care for themselves. This job (and it truly is a job!) may be done in your home, in the other person’s home or in an assisted living facility of some sort. You may be totally responsible for their care or be responsible for assuring that they are cared for in the best manner possible in their living facility. Your assistance may be shared with others who are family members or professionals.

My husband and I started this caregiving journey almost 7 years ago when his mother moved in with us. It was an immediate adjustment for everyone, as she sold her house and gave away belongings, pretty much closing the door on the independence she’d enjoyed for years. During the past several years there have been many ups and downs, as well as a lot of worry and frustration on all our parts. As her physical condition declines noticeably, we know those problems will continue to increase and our dedication to this task we’ve taken on will be stretched to the max. There will be difficult decisions to be made. There may be hard feelings due to those decisions. But we will hang in there as best we can, always having each other to lean on!

Here are some caregiving statistics that I found quite interesting:

1) The aging population (65+) is expected to more than double by the year 2030.

2) Caregiving services were valued at around $450 billion per year in 2009.

3) Family caregivers remain the largest source of long term caregiving.

4) There are approximately 65.7 million caregivers in the US, making up 29% of the adult population.

5) 52 million care for adults 18+ who have a disability or illness.

6) 43.5 million family caregivers care for someone 50+, and 14.9 million care for someone with dementia or Alzheimer’s.

7) Approximately 66% of caregivers are female.

8) Of those caring for someone over 65 years of age, the average caregiver age is 63, with about a third of those in fair to poor health.

Caregivers tend to shove their own needs aside while caring for the other person, often to their own detriment. Health problems are a definite side effect for caregivers, and that includes mental as well as physical health. Caregivers become more and more isolated as time passes, and that can lead to depression and anger. Marriages have been known to fail due to the pressures of caregiving. Managing a personal life, working, caring for another person, caring for your own home – all contribute to stress and worry, leaving little time for rest and relaxation.

But, as they say, we can’t take care of anyone else if we don’t take care of ourselves! So if you’re a caregiver, too, please take care of yourself. Take a few minutes a couple of times a day to just sit and do nothing. Meditate or do some gentle exercises. Take a walk. Read. Do whatever calms you and puts everything back into perspective. And I promise to do the same!
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“All of us, at certain moments of our lives, need to take advice and to receive help from other people.”  (Alexis Carrel)

“Promise me you'll always remember: You're braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” (A. A. Milne)

“You cannot tailor make your situation in life, but you can tailor make your attitudes to fit those situations.” (Zig Ziglar)
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(Statistics from the Family Caregiver Alliance, November 2012.)
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Your comments and suggestions are always welcome. Thanks for reading!

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for the informative post and keep up the good work! Good day.Atlanta Home Care

    ReplyDelete