Caregiving is one of the hardest and most demanding professions which does not exclusively apply to trained carers. Many individuals, whether paid professional or a family member that has been primarily given minimal training, are providing care for a person who is aged, ill or injured. Did you know that there are actually 65 million caregivers to date?
Here are 6 more things you probably didn’t know about caregiving:1 Caregivers are Taking on the Job of the Pros Changing dressings, monitoring medication regimens and injections along with other medical tasks are now handled by them. Entrusting the job to a family is a more cost-effective option without hospital accommodation, which is also favourable for patients who prefer to stay at home.2 The Relationship Between Patients and Caregivers is Mutual Care.com is a great resource for those who seek caregiver jobs and people looking for the perfect caregiver. Caregiving is a support system that springs beautiful relationships, whereas one gets strength and motivation from the other. However, caregivers and the people they care for can both be adversely affected with conditions like depression and psychological illnesses.3 Caregivers’ Health are at Risk Given the nature of their work, caregivers tend to be susceptible to getting an infection. The job is mentally and physically exhausting, which takes a toll on their immune system. Compared to non-caregivers, they have double the rate of developing chronic conditions including diabetes and heart disease. What’s more alarming is a study that revealed how a caregiver’s death rate can potentially increase due to the strain of caring for a sick or dying patient.4 Caregiving Work is Worth Billions The AARP estimates caregiving work to be equivalent to $450 billion annually, yet many don’t consider it as work. A single family caregiver can be doing the job and fulfilling the role of multiple people. A collaboration could mean forming the largest corporation in the world.5 Many Caregivers Face it Alone Despite all the hardships, a carer almost always never seeks the help of others. In addition to caregiving tasks, they run the household, do errands, and may even be caring for their own kids. They often feel that they cannot complain since they’re not the one who’s sick nor in need of assistance. Help is actually just a call or one online booking away, i.e. cleaning or laundry service. You may also delegate some of the smaller tasks to your loved one’s friends, your spouse or other family members.6 There aren’t Enough Resources for Caregivers Turns out, carers are providing their services with little to no support for themselves. They are either ill-prepared to handle unique situations or are suffering poor health. Good thing hospitals, cancer centres, service providers and researchers have recognized the challenges caregivers are facing. Connecting with other caregivers through support groups enables venting and helps combat isolation.
So next time you take on the task of caregiving, know that you’re not alone in the daily struggle. Consider getting much-needed help for your loved one, like hiring a professional to get yourself some well-deserved break. Otherwise, you may soon be dealing with stress and burnout, with your own health issues to worry about. While the person you’re caring for may be an all-important person, you’re willing to sacrifice everything, for you may be the world to them. Remember, taking care of yourself first is key to gaining the strength to take care of others.