Unsung Heroes in Caregiving
January 29, 2015
Caregivers work tirelessly to assist their loved ones, a task that can often take a tremendous toll physically, emotionally and mentally. And yet, despite all of this admirable work, helping family members with meals, hygiene, getting around and more, caregivers often receive very little credit or thanks, in some cases, for what they do. That’s why we want to take time to honor all of the unsung heroes in caregiving.
And just who are these unsung heroes? They’re all around you: mothers, fathers, daughters, sons, grandchildren, husbands and wives, aunts, uncles, and cousins, friends and neighbors. Approximately 66% of family caregivers are women, and more than 37% have children or grandchildren under the age of 18 living with them as well. Caregivers are also young: roughly 1.4 million children from the age of 8 to 18 care for an adult relative, though fortunately most are not the sole caregiver.
If you’re a caregiver, it can be helpful to know that you’re not alone in your difficult, yet important work. More than 65 million people, 29% of the U.S. population, provide care for a chronically ill, disabled or elderly family member or friend during any given year, according to the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP. And the amount of time that you dedicate to those you care for is significant as well, as the national average for time spent providing care is around 20 hours, while some spend 40 hours or more every week as a caregiver.
According to a recent study by the Rand Corporation, if family caregivers were paid for the support and care that they provide their loved ones, the total cost would be upwards of $522 billion per year. But family caregivers offer their support and assistance without asking anything in return, often while making huge sacrifices. Taking the time to ensure that doctor’s visits are made, medications taken, bills are paid, clothes and homes are cleaned; all of which can greatly affect the caregiver’s life, from their careers to well being. In fact, family caregivers are the foundation of long-term care in the United States, providing a staggering 90% of care, even exceeding the amount spent nationwide on Medicare.
The challenge of taking care of the seniors in your life can become even more challenging when they suffer from medical conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, cancer or disabilities that require even more intensive care. In many cases, family caregivers are not trained to offer the demanding responsibilities required for this level of care. It can be difficult to know how to prepare yourself emotionally, physically and mentally, and to avoid burnout, a common experience for family caregivers.
At MyCareMatch.com, we greatly admire the sacrifices and incredible commitment shown by each of you, the unsung heroes in caregiving. That’s why we’re here to offer you the resources to help continue providing care and the options to assist you when caring for your loved ones becomes too much to handle on your own.
Remember, in your tireless efforts, to also take care of yourself, so that you can continue providing the best care to your loved ones:
- Talk to other caregivers to learn from their experiences
- Take care of your own health
- Accept assistance from family and friends to help lighten the load
- Watch out for signs of depression and don’t delay in seeking professional help for yourself
- Consider respite care options to provide a break or even a vacation to recharge.
- Give yourself credit for doing the best job you can at one of the toughest jobs there is!
We thank you and honor you for the amazing work that you do for your loved ones. And we invite you to share your stories with us in the comment section below. Let us and other care givers know about the challenges and successes you have faced taking care of your loved ones.
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