Tag: caregiver burnout

Support for Personal Caregiver

Tips on How Personal Caregivers Can Take Care of Themselves

I have a single friend who is the sole personal caregiver of her 93-year-old mother. She also works full-time at a very stressful job. Fortunately, her mother can still be alone for most of the time my friend is at work. The only outside help she allows is when I and some other neighbors help her mom with her lunch or take her out for a short walk with her walker. Her sister takes their mom to get her hair done once a week and to routine Dr. visits. My friend uses PTO to take her mom to more important appointments. Just twice this year she asked her sister to help their mom with her dinner and to get ready for bed so that she could have an evening out. Although others have offered to give my friend more help with her mom, she says that no one else knows how to meet her every need. She usually gets less than 6 hours of sleep a night. I’m convinced that my friend is at serious risk of losing her own health because she doesn’t accept help in her role as her mom’s personal caregiver, and that she may do so while her mom is still in need of her constant help. Personal Caregivers, Take a Look at Yourself As family caregivers of a loved one, do you see anything like your own situation in my friend’s story? Are you experiencing health problems? Do you recognize them as being related to the constant stress, lack of sleep, manual labor, financial worries and lack of personal time caused by having to–or thinking you have to–do almost everything yourself to meet your loved one’s needs? Are you convinced that there are no caregiver alternatives that will help you take care of yourself, while

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Caregiver Grief

When loved ones die, we expect family members, especially those who were their caregivers, to go through a grieving process. Because professional caregivers are paid for what they do, we don’t always realize that they may have a similar need to process their grief when a client dies or leaves their care for some other reason. As home caregivers and families who employ them, it’s important to acknowledge this grief and find ways to deal with it. Otherwise, it could build up to the point of “bereavement overload,” or the effect of multiple losses with little time in between for a grieving process. In one study of professional caregivers in a long-term care program, 72 percent of the caregivers were experiencing grief symptoms. The New York Times highlighted this issue in their article On Home Aides and Hidden Grief. Professional caregivers often build a strong relationship with clients, as they work with them over time. This is one of the great things about providing home care services as a caregiver. Though the relationship is a professional one, it is normal to have feelings of attachment. Families want to hire caregivers who will treat their elderly clients like family when providing home care services. That sort of intimacy means that caregivers, too, will ache when the people they’ve grown close to are no longer in their care. Anticipatory Grief There need not be a death for a caregiver to experience grief. “Anticipatory grief” begins before the person has died, but the emotions—anxiety, anger, dread, sadness—can be similar. When a family member of a client who has an injury, condition or disease like Alzheimer’s that progressively changes their personality, the grief may come from realizing that the person, as they knew them, will be “gone” even before they die. Family caregivers may

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