WHAT CAREGIVERS NEED TO KNOW
Are you providing care to someone who has ongoing health challenges? If so you are not alone. According to The National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP, 29% of adults in the United States have cared for a loved one or friend who was ill, disabled, or aging. This percentage accounts for 65.7 million people who are mostly women. . The number of hours spent in caregiving activities varies. It is estimated that caregivers spend 15 to 37 or more hours per week caring for their loved one.
While caregiving can be a rewarding task, the additional responsibilities also bring additional challenges. These include the amount of time caregiving takes, maintaining the health of the caregiver, and what resources are available to help caregivers.
Caregiving tasks can vary depending on the health and abilities of those needing care. A great deal of time can be spent helping with basic daily tasks such as:
• Grocery shopping
• House cleaning
• Paying bills
• Giving medicine
• Using the toilet
It is very easy for caregiver’s time to be absorbed in helping your loved one, and many caregivers neglect their own personal needs . Be sure to carry through with your own medical appointments. Take your medication as directed by your physician. Taking care of yourself helps you to be able to continue taking care of your loved one the best you can.
Where can you find respite help? Part of the process of caring for yourself is to locate resources and assistance such as respite care. Help for the caregiver can be as close as a neighbor or family member. When these sources of assistance are not possible consider using a respite care program to allow you time to do necessary shopping and personal appointments knowing someone is with your family member to provide assistance and keep them safe. You can also use respite care as a time for you to relax and enjoy some of the things you have always done. Physicians and/or social workers may be able to help you find respite care in your community. You can also check with these and other organizations near you:
• Ohio Area Agency on Aging
• Alzheimer’s Association
Why do people care for their loved ones themselves? Love and the joy of helping their loved ones spurs on caregivers, giving energy and a sense of satisfaction. Although caregiving can be challenging, it is important to note that it can also have its rewards. It can give you a feeling of giving back to a loved one. It can also make you feel needed and can lead to a stronger relationship with the person receiving care.
Written by: Pat Holmes, CFCS, Family & Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension
Reviewed by: Kathy Green, Family & Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension