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STRESS OF FAMILY CAREGIVING OFTEN NECESSITATES OUTSIDE SUPPORT

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One of the most stressful jobs around today isn’t found in corporate America.  Rather, it’s a job that one in every four Americans wakes up to each morning. It comes with the title “family caregiver”—a role that brings significant rewards and equally significant challenges.

Statistics from a recent report tell the story.  About 76 percent of family caregivers reported that their aging loved one’s needs are overwhelming.

Here’s more:
•    91 percent of family caregivers have episodes of feeling anxious or irritable
•    73 percent have disturbed sleep patterns
•    56 percent seem to become ill more frequently. 
  
Every day, we encounter these family caregivers: people who love and want the best for their aging family members, but don’t know how to fit it all in.  For these compassionate people, stress is a constant companion.

A study released by the National Association of Social Workers and the New York Academy of Medicine describes this very well.  The poll showed that more than 60 percent of women concerned about an aging relative’s health said they have difficulty managing stress.  Furthermore, women concerned about an aging relative’s health were about three times more likely to say they worry “a great deal” about having enough time for family. 

Social workers and other senior-care experts often recommend resources to keep seniors independent and to help their family caregivers manage stress.  Non-medical home care agencies are one such resource.

These agencies offer companionship, meal preparation, light housekeeping, medication reminders, transportation and personal care to help provide respite for weary family caregivers.  And, because they can be just what harried family caregivers need to help fill in the caregiving gaps they may be experiencing, this type of support can help alleviate the stress and worry that caregiving can place on their lives.

Most family caregivers agree that there are many rewards associated with this job, so they don’t want to give up caregiving.  Rather, they just need some additional support—which can make all the difference for them, and for the people to whom they’re providing care.

This article is submitted by Mike P. Maguire of Home Instead Senior Care of Northern Colorado.  He can be reached at 970-494-0289