The Challenges of Caregiving

Caregiving can be challenging on multiple levels as many family caregivers are also holding down full-time jobs, helping children and grandchildren, and assisting financially for the family member they are taking care of.  The emotional, mental and physical toll of caregiving may become so demanding that the caregiver begins to suffer from illness themselves. In fact, caregivers are at a high risk for stress related illnesses as the emotional experiences involved in providing care can strain even the most resilient person.  The truth is you can only do so much without taxing your own health.

Sometimes the demands of caregiving are too high, and a change must be made.  If caregiving is affecting your emotional or physical wellbeing, don’t be ashamed to ask for help.  Also, when a loved one’s needs become beyond your physical capability, or when the health and safety of your loved one is at risk, consider talking with a healthcare professional who can help you evaluate your situation.  A new arrangement may give you and your loved one the resources needed to improve the wellbeing of both of you.

One of the most difficult things a caregiver will have to do is to recognize when it is time to move a loved one to assisted living.  Deciding on assisted living is never easy. Caregiver guilt is a common reaction to moving seniors out of their homes. However, coming to terms with the fact that your loved one is unsafe in their home as well as increasingly unable to take care of themselves will help in dealing with guilt feelings.  In addition, connecting with other caregivers with whom you can share and learn will also offer tremendous help.

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