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Who Are Family Caregivers?

Over 65 million Americans provide care for a family member or friend. Known as family caregivers, these people provide any type of physical or emotional care for an ill or disabled loved one. While resources like medical alert systems can ease the burden of caregiving, the job is often difficult, rewarding, and emotionally taxing. If you’re thinking about caring for an elder family member, consider these caregiver facts before making your decision.

The Benefits of Family Caregivers

Caregivers

Family caregivers play a critical role in ensuring the health and well-being of their loved ones.

When a caregiver spends long periods of time with an elderly family member, both people are likely to feel connected and emotionally engaged. The loved one will receive many benefits:

 

  • They will get the care they need.
  • They will age in place safely.
  • They will continue to live in their home.
  • They can continue a life of familiar sights, smells, and sounds, instead of moving to a nursing home.
  • They gain the opportunity to spend time with their caregiver, who may be a spouse, descendant, or other family member.
  • They can bolster a more personal or intimate relationship with their caregiver.

The caregiver makes a great difference in their loved one’s life. But, if you’re familiar with caregiver facts and experiences, you will know that they also receive many rewards in return:

 

  • They have the opportunity give back to their loved one.
  • They get the gratification of making sure their loved one ages in place happily.
  • They gain opportunities to bond with other siblings if caregiving extends to the rest of the family.
  • They feel an increased sense of purpose and meaning of life, as they become a dependable figurehead.
  • They grow confidence in their own abilities, as they persist through many draining tasks.

 

The Challenges of Caregiving

Like all aspects of growing old, caregiving is not without its challenges. It is an around-the-clock job. The caregiver must look out for his or her own health, as existing health problems may get worse with added stress. Caregivers can also feel secluded if they are working for their loved one alone. They may feel unappreciated, especially if their loved one does not thank them or have the ability to thank them regularly. 

Overcoming the Challenges of Caregiving

Hands Helping

Caregiving can take a toll in terms of finances, career, and mental and physical health. Fortunately, there are resources that can help ease the burden. For example, affordable senior alert systems can allow loved ones to get help in an emergency if the caregiver needs to leave the home during the day. These systems are also useful if there is an emergency while the caregiver is sleeping. It’s also important for caregivers to ask for help from friends and family or seek emotional support through local groups or online forums. While reading caregiver facts can give you an idea of the experience, only other family caregivers can provide insight and specialized support.

 

If you feel overwhelmed by the difficulties of caregiving, remember to reach out to others who can support you. Bottling your emotions can be detrimental to your emotional and physical health. You can:

 

  • Confide in close family members or friends
  • Find caregiver support groups in your local area
  • Ask family or friends for help

You don’t have to do everything by yourself. Remember to take time to relax and take care of yourself. Maintain a life balance by spending time with friends, doing fun hobbies, eating healthy, and getting enough sleep. Your health is the most important asset you own.

 

The infographic below provides some important caregiver facts. It identifies caregivers are, what they do, and many of the rewards and challenges. If you are currently caring for a loved one, take use of the many resources out there. 
Caregiver Info