National Family Caregivers Month, taking place annually in the month of November is an initiative which offers a respectful and appreciative spotlight to family caregivers from all around the country.
It is a gesture of perpetual acknowledgment and support in regard to ordinary people that have taken it upon themselves to be of assistance to someone in need, be it a family member, a neighbour they are especially fond of or a close friend.
Since the very beginning of our species, members pertaining to the same communities have been looking after one another and they have most notably done so in circumstances involving injury and illness. Nowadays, over 45 million individuals in America still make that same archaic choice of looking after their own.
But who cares for the one who cares for everyone else? Family caregiving is often referred to as a full-time job, yet the truth is it is a never-ending responsibility and people in these circumstances frequently put every little bit of themselves on the line with little to nothing positive in return.
Facts about the Hardships of Family Caregivers
Caregiving does not come with a “How to” guide, but considering the large numbers of people in such a situation, it probably would not be a bad idea. Here are just a few truths about family caretakers that the rest of the population should respond to more:
- Most commonly, the family caregiver is a mother with a job to get to and children to raise – Take the time and do a mental exercise comparing your morning routine and this woman’s first hours of the day.
- About 70% of all caregivers have to handle the medication and regiments of the patient – That means maintaining a schedule without a fault and always being prepared and fully stocked for treatment to not be interrupted.
- Giving up careers and jobs they longed for their whole lives – There are cases in which only constant supervision will do, and caretakers have to minimize working hours, work part-time jobs or just quit their job entirely.
- Severe burden and self-esteem issues – As a result of improperly managing their livelihood. However, making somebody else their single focus and dismissing any of their personal human needs is a tactic that will over time work against them making them prone to irritability, loneliness and unrealistic sentiments of impending doom.
Strengthening Family Caregivers
Healthcare professionals often informally categorize family caregivers as some kind of “secondary” types of patients. This denomination speaks volumes about the realities of the person that has to fill the role of a caregiver for someone close to them.
It is an angle on their stance that the community should attentively assume time and again in order to offer reassurance and encouragement to these heroes that most of the time fly under the radar.
A better understanding of the issues faced each day by family caregivers is long-overdue. Some circumstances concerning the struggles of caregivers and deserving of more resources and attention are:
- The caregiver’s need for a support system of their own to fight off isolation tendencies;
- The education is given to caregivers to be receptive of help that is being offered to them to prevent feelings of abandonment and overwhelm;
- The betterment of the healthcare professional and caregiver relationship in terms of effective communication and assistance;
- The compulsory need for the caregiver to withdraw regularly and make time for oneself without being plagued by self-sabotaging guilt;
- The necessity of identifying and keeping a tab on depressive episodes and addressing the issue immediately without prioritizing other problems they have to deal with as “more important”;
- The benefits of being on the lookout for the latest information and technology that could greatly improve the performance of daily tasks;
- The camaraderie of telling the story of your caregiver friend, neighbor, co-worker so that more people find about the circumstances and have the chance to get involved either by further spreading the word or directing their resources toward them.
Much like those they care for, caregivers have the same physical and psychological needs to fulfill for themselves, a fact obvious enough for the rest of world, but often not to them, as they tend to get caught up into someone else’s demands and lose the sense of duty for their own persona.
Many individuals might have found themselves in the position of a caregiver quite unexpectedly and, therefore, it is important for them to be in contact with professionals in order to learn how to best manage the situation for everybody’s sake.
Family caregivers should understand that their lives are still their own and they should work on creating a collective support system for the person in need rather than launch themselves into a one-man mission that can only work for so long.
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Inpost Image Credit: shutterstock.com