Family Caregivers – Providing a Selfless Service
“Caregiving is hard work. Caregiving is pain. Caregiving is loving and giving and sharing. Caregiving is accepting and learning new things and going on, and on, and on. Caregiving is lots of questions and very few answers. Caregiving is being out of the mainstream. Caregiving is learning what it means to die with dignity and making sure your loved one’s wishes will be honored. Caregiving is all these things and a whole lot more.” – National Family Caregivers Association and the National Alliance for Caregiving
I see it all the time with clients; they’re emotionally, physically and financially drained from caring for a loved one. They feel overwhelmed by their responsibilities not to mention feeling alone and unappreciated. They feel guilty for feeling like they just can’t do it anymore and are afraid to ask for help. If you are a caregiver and you too are feeling this way, these feelings are normal and you are not alone.
A recent report from AARP found that in 2009, there were 42 million unpaid family caregivers in the United States. According to the study, the “average” caregiver is a 49-year-old female who juggles a job and a family of her own while providing 18.4 hours per week of unpaid care.
I have found that for all their selfless service, caregivers face the very real potential for financial hardship, especially if they cut back on work hours or stop working entirely. In addition, care giving can potentially have an economic impact on their retirement years and an increased possibility of living in poverty in old age.
The financial hardship is not the only concern my clients have. The stress and burden of care giving is affecting their health, too. It’s important for caregivers to remember that it’s okay to think about yourself and to do something for “you” each day. Also, try not to isolate yourself because of your caregiver role – friends and family are there to support you. Seek help when needed and accept the help that people offer.
If you or someone you know is caring for an adult family member and are concerned about the impact it may have on your health and personal finances, contact an elder law attorney to help you assess your current situation and put a plan into place that will minimize the burden on you!
To learn more, attend our educational program – The Caregivers Tool Box – on Tuesday, August 21st from 11:30 am – 1:00 pm or Thursday, August 23rd from 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm. Visit our website: www.StrohscheinLawGroup.com to register.
Linda M. Strohschein
Other Caregiving Resources
- The National Family Caregivers Association
- The National Alliance for Caregiving
- Family Caregiver Alliance