The Many Demands Facing Family Caregivers

Even for professional caregivers, helping the elderly take care of themselves isn’t always easy. But more than half of the caregiving in this country is rendered by unpaid family members (at least in part).

In fact, more than 22 million people in the U.S. currently provide informal care for an elderly or disabled person without receiving compensation, according to About Health. That’s a significant chunk of our entire national population, and all those hours of volunteer aid can add up to significant stress.

Writing for About, Registered Nurse Angela Morrow itemized some of the most common causes of informal-family-caregiver burnout.

First and foremost are probably the physical demands, which Morrow says can include:

  • Bathing
  • Cooking
  • Feeding
  • Shopping
  • Turning the patient from side to side
  • Lifting the patient in and out bed (not to mention vehicles, bathtubs, wheelchairs, and more)

There are emotional demands, too. The sheer responsibility can weigh on a caregiver’s daily existence. And that’s to say nothing of the tremendous financial responsibility, sometimes adding up to tens of thousands of dollars a year.

If you’re currently caring for a disabled or elderly person, you should know that it’s okay if you sometimes feel frustrated. You aren’t alone. That knowledge can prove therapeutic by itself.

Take a deep breath, schedule some time for solitude whenever possible, and remember to tend to your own needs along the way as well.

Looking for more comprehensive stress relief? Consult Morrow’s list of resources to get some ideas. Remember, to give good care, you need to care for yourself too.