Family Caregivers Are The Unsung Heroes Who Provide The Help That Their Loved Ones Need
November is dedicated to recognizing the services provided by family caregivers. Mature adults depend on them for senior care. Pegasus home healthcare specialists in Verdugo City and elsewhere know how hard these superheroes work and we salute them.
Nationally, more the 65 million adults provide care for one or more family members. Few of them have formal training. They learn on-the-job how to meet eldercare challenges.
Caregivers often assist family members and friends as an integral part of their life. Their efforts are frequently taken for granted by themselves and others. Knowing they are helping someone is the only reward they need.
The average caregiver of today is a member of the “sandwich generation.” Many are working mothers. They are providing care for a senior while meeting the needs of their own children.
Most average around 20 hours a week, but a significant number put in 40 or more hours weekly. They may help for a few months, a few years, or a lifetime.
Their caregiving duties can seriously impact their jobs. They may have to switch from full-time employment to part-time. They suffer financial losses when they’re passed over for promotions or even fired for absenteeism.
Family Caregivers Have Many Tasks
A family caregiver may help in a variety of ways. These include assistance with matters such as:
- Bill paying and other financial concerns
- Meal preparation
- Medical, including monitoring meds and checking blood pressure
- Running errands
- Shopping for food and household supplies
- Social interactions
Demands on the caregiver’s time can be daily, sporadic, or 24/7.
About half of caregivers help with daily living activities. These include self-care such as getting out of bed, dressing, bathing, or using the toilet. Individuals with dementia or other cognitive impairment often need help with all their care.
Caregivers often start with fitting in their help with their jobs and other family responsibilities. Exhaustion and stress from juggling schedules become routine. Guilt and depression set in because being everything to everyone is more than they can continue doing.
Family Caregivers Assist All Ages, But Eldercare Is Their Biggest Job
Although individuals of all ages can require caregiving, elderly family members are the primary recipients. Eldercare may start with a few tasks now and then to help someone as they age. Often there’s a crisis that can change everything quickly.
Decisions have to be made as to whether or not the senior will have to enter a facility. If not, a family member has to assume responsibility for providing care. That person may do it alone, or coordinate the care with other family members or friends.
Unfortunately, family members don’t always agree about the kind or level of care needed. Some may prefer letting a facility take over caregiving tasks. Others may prefer to hire professional in-home help, such as that provided by Pegasus.
Factors in the decision making include the:
- Availability of family and community support for the chosen caregiver
- Emotional, mental, and physical health of the senior
- Emotional, mental, and physical health of the caregiver
- Financial resources of the senior and the caregiver
- Other responsibilities of the caregiver
Each situation is unique. The situation may also change as conditions improve or worsen. Families may opt for different choices as time goes by.
Family Caregivers Must Also Care For Themselves
It is essential that individuals providing senior care learn to care for themselves. Experts offer the following tips for caregiver health:
- Accept offers of help from other family members or friends
- Acknowledge and accept feelings that may be less than loving at times
- Get all the legalities in order for peace of mind and to avoid disputes
- Learn as much as possible about the person’s condition and prognosis
- Learn enough “medicalese” to communicate effectively with doctors
- Take advantage of any and all support services or groups available
Steps such as these can reduce stress and burn-out.
Family caregivers often tend to neglect their own care to the detriment of themselves and their loved ones. Other suggestions for maintaining caregiver health include:
- Seeking professional help at the first sign of depression
- Eating right to maintain energy and remain healthy
- Knowing mental and physical limits and asking for help when those limits will be exceeded
- Socializing and networking
- Avoiding alcohol and drugs
- Getting enough sleep
A big part of self-care is taking a break, or respite, from helping others.
Pegasus Caregivers Are Here To Help
Respite care involves someone else taking over the senior care duties to give the primary caregiver a break. Their break can be for as long as needed to refresh their energy and strength. Respite care is one of the many services Pegasus provides.
Pegasus is a licensed Home Care Organization and a Joint Commission Accredited Home Health Care organization. We have consistently provided quality home care since 1994. Our experts in Verdugo City and our other locations tailor their services to fit the needs of each individual.
Individuals are treated with dignity and respect for their privacy regardless of their medical needs. We understand the difficulties that family caregivers face. We are here to help these superheroes provide the care their loved ones require.