Caregivers need care, too

It is only natural to experience the whole gamut of feelings when you’re in the thick of the caregiver role, especially if you’re a primary caregiver, most often a spouse or adult child.  Your life may be turned upside down rapidly or changes may evolve slowly as the needs of your care receiver change. 

  • The average age of a family caregiver in the US is 49.2 years.

  • 48% of US caregivers are between the ages and 18 and 49.

  • 24.4 hours of care per week are provided by caregivers.

  • The role of most family caregivers lasts an average of four years and 15% of caregivers serve in the role for 10 or more years.

 

(National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP, 2015)

What may begin as a labor of love, may very well turn into feelings of loneliness, resentment, sadness, depression, guilt, anxiety and boredom to name a few. Many caregivers are hesitant to talk to others about their feelings for fear of seeming unloving and selfish.  The flipside, however, is how grateful some caregivers are to be present and supportive, even when some of the more challenging feelings creep in.

As a caregiver you must acknowledge that you, too, need care.  At first it may be difficult to ask for help or even to accept help when it is offered.  Even occasional breaks can make a difference. 

 

Resources

Family Caregiver Alliance    A website devoted to providing resources for family and professional caregivers.

Willowgreen has audio visual resources for grief and loss; blogs and books on grief, loss and caregiving and notecards.

Free relaxation recording by Patty to stream or download.