Who is a Caregiver? You are.
“One of the most difficult of all things to endure for a crow, a raven, wolf, or a human is to feel alone and separated from one’s own kind. A sense of belonging is one of the most universal of all feelings.”
— LAWRENCE KILHAM
Are you helping a loved one with cancer or a chronic disease?
You may not think of yourself as a caregiver. You may just think that you are helping out and it is just something natural, or, you may be a professional caregiver and it is part of the job.
"Caregiving" is a term that has come into use more during the past decade and it refers to anyone who takes care of someone else who can no longer manage their everyday tasks alone. At certain point in our lives, many of us will become caregivers. Sometimes it happens gradually—we help out a few times a month, but as the person needs more assistance, we become more involved.
Whether you are a spouse, adult, child, relative, friend, or volunteer, becoming a caregiver is a fact of life for many. But, even though it seems normal to put aside your own feelings and needs, doing so over a long period of time can be damaging to your health.
Caregivers need care too! If you don’t require your own self-care, you may not be able to assist another.
Caregiver Facts & Suggestions:
[These numbers are approximate]
• 82% of caregivers are female.
• 15% of American workers are involved in caregiving.
• 6 in 10 caregivers work full-time.
• 1/3 of working caregivers have one or more children living at home.
• 8 in 10 caregivers provide assistance 7 days/wk (transportation, housework, shopping, cleaning, medicating, etc.)
• 1/2 of all primary caregivers receive no outside help.
• Only 10 - 20% of family caregivers use agency services.
• 36% reported caregiving 40 hrs/wk
Caring for Yourself:
• When offered time off — TAKE IT!
• Join a support group.
• Try to get enough sleep.
• Make sure to eat ,and eat WELL.
• Talk to friends—don't isolate yourself.
and most importantly...
• YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
If you feel overwhelmed, consider seeking a Pathfinder therapist to help you deal with stress and reinforce your support system.