Caregiving can be one of the most rewarding roles a person can have. It often feels good to be able to care for a loved one, and spending time together can give new meaning to your relationship while creating lasting memories. That being said, caring for a friend or family member can also prove to be incredibly difficult.
With roughly 40 million full or part-time family caregivers in America, caring for a loved one can have a surprising toll on your finances, physical and mental health, and personal relationships.
The Toll Caregiving Takes on Family Members
Caregiving by the Numbers
- 68 percent of family caregivers provided financial support. Some estimates predict that family caregivers spend an estimated $190 billion each year on their family members for out-of-pocket health costs and care-related expenses.
- 93 percent provided emotional support.
- 90 percent provided personal care support, such as hygiene and chores.
- 32 percent of caregivers have stopped or reduced contributions to their personal savings to provide care.
- 21 percent of caregivers have borrowed money to provide care.
- 41 percent of caregivers have reduced their work hours or changed their schedule/shift to provide care.
- 13 percent have resigned their jobs to provide care.
- 9 percent have changed jobs or careers to provide care.
A Physically Demanding Job
Caregiving is not one role — it requires people to be personal shoppers, babysitters, cleaners, assistants, drivers, and so much more. Plus, they often have to navigate the complicated word of healthcare.
Caregiving doesn’t abide by a 9-5 schedule, so neither do caregivers. Many times, caregivers work weekends, at night, and on last-minute or unscheduled hours. This type of demand can quickly affect a caregiver’s sleep schedule, ability to cook healthy meals, and exercise regimen.
The Emotional and Mental Effects
Over the years, the negative emotional effects of caregiving have become so widely known that it’s been given the name “caregiver stress.”
According to the Family Caregiver Alliance, between 40 to 70% of all family caregivers have “clinically significant symptoms of depression” and up to one-half of these caregivers meet the diagnostic criteria for major depression.
Many caregivers have the best intentions when they take on the job — when their loved one needs help, they jump in right away. Unfortunately, a deep love for your family member is not enough to prepare someone for all that this job entails.
The high rate of depression and anxiety symptoms found in caregivers is due to the fact that evidence shows most caregivers are ill-prepared to take on such a difficult and time-consuming role.
According to the Caregiving in the U.S. 2015 study conducted by AARP and the National Alliance for Caregiving, the average caregiver cares for a loved one for four years. During that time, they often watch their loved one suffer physically and/or emotionally. This, too, takes a toll on their emotional health.
The Importance of Hiring Professional Caregivers
When you hire a professional caregiver, you can rest assured that their only professional job is to care for your loved one. Here at Homewatch CareGivers, our caregivers’ goal is to include and empower their clients and treat them as a human, not just a collection of symptoms.
Like every employee, even the most dedicated caregiver needs time off for themselves. As a trusted provider of caregivers, we provide several types of care, including short-term, in-house, and companion care, to name a few.
At Homewatch CareGivers, we were founded on the idea that individuals should receive kind, compassionate, and qualified care tailored to their unique needs and in their preferred surroundings. Because of that, we train our professionals not just on high-quality care but on interpersonal relationships as well.
Contact us today to learn more.