Care giving for family members that are not able to manage on their own is an enormous issue in our country today. With a struggling economy and both men and women living longer, a number of people are turning toward this lifestyle.
There are more than 42 million unpaid caregivers in our country as of 2009. This number will continually increase as our baby boomers move into this area of their lives. For those without children, they will rely on their extended family like nieces and nephews to fill the void. This hidden part of the economy amounted to $450 billion worth of services. This is Wal-Mart’s previous annual sales.
Who are they?
More than one in five people who hold a job are also the primary caregiver for a family member. These are workers ages 46 to 65 who are also a parent as well. This means raising your own children at the same time as looking after a parent or elderly relative. Even if this isn’t your lifestyle at this time, there is a great chance you will find yourself in this role eventually.
Although this work as a rule is performed out of love, it is physically and emotionally demanding. Not only are you strained in this regard, but financially a hit is felt. When we reach this milestone in our lives, there are few of us ready to meet this challenge or prepared for it.
Resources for help
There are not a lot of resources to help with this situation which makes it even more taxing. It is a tough road to navigate and many people find themselves treading water trying to balance this type of lifestyle. Whether the relative is living in your home or their own it is more than tough.
AARP has a campaign they started with the Ad Council where they built a Caregiving Resource Center. This online source of support has materials to help with the isolation most feel in this role. It also connects users with experts to aid in giving loved ones the best supervision possible and finding ways to reduce stress nearly all persons in this situation feel.
State agencies are also available to help with some financial help. These agencies are developed to pay you for the services you give. There are regulations and rules set up to follow to qualify and every state varies. Contact your local state Department of Human Services to find out more.
The mental health for most persons with this responsibility is generally adversely affected. Stress, anxiety and depression are only a few of the symptoms to emerge. Seeking help for these as soon as possible will help you in the long run. It will aid with having the stamina to continue the job or facing up to needing extra help to get it done. See your family physician if you need help finding a professional for the task.
This is a thankless job and most do it out of love and do not expect anything in return. However, the burden to bear is costly. The stress of this work can negatively affect your job, your marriage, your children, other relationships in you have, your finances and nearly anything else in your life. This does not account for the stress, anxiety and depression that many feel while filling this role.
There is help for those that need it. Do not be afraid to reach for it and know that you are not alone while handling this enormous responsibility and challenge you did not choose to do.