Caregiving is perceived by non-caregivers as thoughtless work requiring no effort or participation. Caregivers stay home, give medication reminders, and complete common domestic tasks while enjoying their favorite afternoon soap opera, right? Wrong! Caring for the frail, ailing, and disabled is a grueling task repeated daily with limited sleep. Monotonous labor intensive schedules cause physical and emotional stress. Constantly answering demands of care-recipients leaves no time for self-care. Balancing work schedules and doctors’ appointments is almost impossible. Worrying about the welfare of a loved-one and having no one to discuss the possible devastating outcome leaves a mind heavy and drained of hope. No one cares about a caregiver’s anguish and suffering. Their health is no concern as long as non-caregivers can continue their uninterrupted lives.
Caregivers need adequate stress relief and dependable support systems in order to perform daily functions effectively. Depression, mental breakdowns, and aggression are all results of an overworked caregiver. Endless days and long nights allow no sleep. Caregiving duties are continuous and rarely end at a specific time. There’s no TGIF or end-of-day routine. Weekdays and weekends blend together.
When are caregivers given the opportunity to de-stress and rest? A break is a rare instance when a family member volunteers to watch the care-recipient for a few hours and the caregiver sneaks away for a little alone time. These few hours are usually spent worrying or wondering what other daily tasks need to be completed. Sadly, caregivers often don’t receive relief from their hectic schedules. Care continues until the care-recipient is satisfied or has fallen asleep. Completion may take minutes, hours, or an entire day.
Caregivers providing in-home care for loved-ones don’t have consistent work schedules and are unable to make “after work” plans. They live and sleep in their workplace. Relentless hours and limited sleep will break even the strongest person. Caregivers are expected to carry on with a smile without inconveniencing onlookers. Their crying episodes, social isolation, and anger outbursts are considered ridiculous. How can staying at home caring for one person be so stressful? You need to get yourself together! Oh you would rather put him/her in a nursing home? How can you be depressed? You’re overreacting! These are questions and statements expressed by family and friends to stressed caregivers.
Caregivers understand the demands and struggles of caregiving. These forgotten heroes need stress relief in order to maintain sanity and provide consistent quality care. A simple telephone call from a friend or relative allowing a caregiver vent time is sometimes all that’s needed. Refusing and ignoring their requests for help is narrow-minded and selfish. Without stress relief, caregivers cannot adequately care for patients. Lack of focus and physical exhaustion hinder completion of daily tasks. Denying help results in emotional breakdowns. Constant worry of grim medical outcomes causes depression and anxiety. These conditions are treated with an anti-anxiety medication prescription. The caregiver has now become the care-recipient. Caregivers’ anxieties, depressions, and stress are preventable by volunteering time and offering respite care. Thank you for reading. Take care and please share!
Caregiving is a selfless act defining personality and morality. Only those who have walked this path can truly understand the struggles. Third-party observers try to empathize, but are unaware of the daily stress endured by the caregiver. Non-caregivers don’t realize….
1.) ….their “care for yourself” advice is falling on deaf ears. Self-care is important and caregivers should have the opportunity to rest and de-stress. However, the daily demands of caregiving can cause physical and emotional exhaustion. We’re aware of self-care’s significance, but are too tired and preoccupied to practice it.
2.) ….caregiving is not just healthcare. Financial obligations, domestic errands, meal preparation, advanced planning for family gatherings/outings, maintaining a safe home environment, and endless paperwork are daily caregiver responsibilities.
3.) ….our smiles are disguising a feeling of constant worry. Self-doubt and uncertainty adds to the overwhelming character of caregiving. Questioning judgement becomes part of our daily routine. Sleep provides little relief from anxiety and tension. The mind is unable to fully rest and is overflowing with what-if’s and did-I’s.
4.) ….the social isolation endured by caregivers. Devotion to the well-being of another involves love and sacrifice. Caregiving is demanding and allows limited time for socialization. Doctors, nurses, care-recipients, and an occasional visit from friends and family is sometimes the only “outside” contact for caregivers.
5.) ….caregiving’s financial burden. The amount of care required and long-term care funds, dictate frequentness of responsibilities. Care-recipients needing 24-hour care and lacking significant healthcare funds need unemployed caregivers with open availabilities. Those providing care are forced to live on one income in a “two” income society. Many receive no compensation for their caregiving duties and survive on the care-recipient’s limited income.
6.) ….the strain caregiving puts on marriage. Arguments manifest from lack of socialization and financial instability. Frustration incurred from caregiving is released at the expense of the spouse. Conversations about NON-caregiving activities are inexistent. A caregiver’s marriage revolves around the care-recipient.
Non-caregivers, help by volunteering your time and patience. Listen and allow us to vent. We’re aware of caregiving’s difficulties and need not be reminded of its hectic reality. Offer support through respite care and socialization. Thank you for reading! Take care!
Caregiving is physically and emotionally demanding. Balancing daily stress and quality care is overwhelming and time consuming. Constant devotion to a loved-one leaves limited time for self-care. Demanding daily routines cause tiredness and exhaustion. Limited time, lack of energy, and hectic schedules are deterrents of exercise. How can you stay physically fit while caregiving? Try this 20-minute in-home workout performed with NO EQUIPMENT.
The listed exercises should be performed as a circuit….do one set of each exercise allowing limited rest-time between exercises.
Repeat the circuit 3-4 times, resting 2 minutes between each circuit.
- SQUAT – 20 reps
- PUSH-UP (Standard or Incline) – 20 reps
- CRUNCH – 20 reps
- ALTERNATING LUNGE – 20 reps
- TRICEPS DIP – 20 reps
- BICYCLE CRUNCH – 20 reps
Exercise promotes physical fitness and reduces stress. Allow yourself time to de-stress and recharge. Incorporate a workout routine into your schedule and enjoy the benefits. Don’t have 20 minutes? The workout is too intense? Modify and divide the routine into two 10-minute workouts. Stay healthy and provide your loved-one with deserved quality care. Thank you for reading. Take care!!
The “Millennial” generation has been unfairly labeled the “Me, Me, Me” generation. We’re surrounded by negative stereotypes describing our uncaring, self-centered, technology-driven personalities. If we care only for ourselves, why is the number of Millennial caregivers rising? Apparently, our personalities aren’t engrossed in self-appreciation. We ARE concerned with the health and well-being of aging or ailing loved-ones.
Young caregivers are faced with the challenges of caregiving AND creating stable households for their growing families. We’re maturing and searching for a life path while nurturing those who once cared for us. Creating a successful caregiving/life balance requires exploratory research and preliminary planning.
1.) Understand Care-Recipient’s Health Condition
Caregivers are healthcare advocates for their patients. Before or during the caregiving process, research and explore the care-recipient’s health concerns. Educate yourself on the care required for his/her current and underlying conditions. Use learned knowledge to communicate effectively with nurses and physicians. Create a care plan addressing all health concerns.
2.) Know Employer’s Policies
Many young caregivers are actively engaged in the workforce. Raising families requires dependable income. Healthcare appointments and daily errands cause conflicting schedules. Familiarize yourself with your employer’s vacation and absence policies. Research caregiving entitlements offered through local and federal governments.
3.) Create Household Budget
Often caregivers are unable to work because of the severity of the patient’s health condition or amount of required care. Households are forced to survive on one income in a “two” income society. Living on a limited income requires effective money management. Budget for savings allowance and research financial planning options benefiting your future goals. Plan now for later! Read, Caregivers, try to utilize your resources! for possible benefits available to you and the care-recipient.
4.) Accept Assistance
Devotion to the well-being of another is stressful. Avoid eventual burnout by delegating errands and caregiving duties to family and friends. Reach out to homecare agencies and research respite care options. Discuss with family the need for a support system. Caregiving is demanding and limits self-care time. Accept assistance from dependable sources. Stay healthy and provide consistent quality care for your loved-one.
5.) Don’t Forget Your Future
Caregiving is circumstantial and can be planned or spontaneous. Young caregivers usually have a “life” path before dedicating their lives to loved-ones. Don’t let caregiving eliminate your future ambitions. Try to follow your intended path. Remember, there’s life after caregiving. Plan for your future!
Millennial caregivers manage and support aging loved-ones while raising families. Their devotion leaves limited time for self-care. Avoid caregiver stress and burnout through research and advanced planning. Utilize available resources and provide quality care for your loved-one. Thank you for reading! Please share!