As the population of older adults in the United States continues to grow, so too does the number of family caregivers. According to the National Council on Aging, there are currently more than 40 million Americans providing unpaid care for an aging friend or loved one.
Caregiving can be a rewarding experience, but it is also often challenging. Family caregivers may struggle with managing their own physical and emotional health while also caring for another person. They may find it difficult to juggle work and caregiving responsibilities or feel isolated and alone. These are the top five issues family caregivers struggle with, so if you experience these issues, know that it is normal and you can get through it.
1. Doing it all myself
If you are the primary caregiver for a loved one, you might feel like you are shouldering the majority of the caregiving responsibility. This is common, but it is important to remember that you are not alone. There are many others in the same situation, and there are community resources available to help you. You might consider reaching out to a caregiving support group, or talking to your doctor about your caregiving role. Ask other family members and friends for help when you need it. Delegate tasks whenever possible, and take breaks when you can. It is also important to make time for your own self-care.
2. Juggling caregiving with work and other responsibilities
It is common for family caregivers to struggle with managing their own physical and emotional health while also caring for another person. They may find it difficult to juggle work and caregiving responsibilities, or feel isolated and alone. Caregiving can be a lonely experience, especially if you live far from other family members or if your loved one requires constant care. If you still have kids at home the demands can seem even more onerous. You might feel like you have to do it all but If you are struggling to manage your caregiving duties, work, and selfcare, don't hesitate to ask for help. You might also consider taking respite from caregiving if possible.
3. Financial strain
Quitting your job or cutting back your hours are common choices made by caregivers in order to care for their loved ones. If you pay for food and medication the expenses can add up quickly. Talk to your family about ways they can help financially, whether it be through sharing the cost of professional care or simply providing monetary support. Knowing you have financial backing can help reduce some of the stress that comes with caregiving.
It’s easy to start resenting your loved one when you feel like you’re constantly giving and they’re not doing anything to help in return. Be honest with yourself about how you’re feeling and try to find ways to release that resentment, whether it’s through talking to a professional or taking some time for yourself.
5. Feeling like you don’t do enough
You may feel guilty about not being able to do more or feeling like you’re not doing enough. It’s important to remember that you are only human and can only do so much. caregiving is a difficult task, so cut yourself some slack and know that you’re doing the best you can.
The biggest takeaway from these struggles is, if you are a family caregiver, it is important to reach out for help when needed. There are many resources available to support you in your caregiving journey. Talk to your doctor or other healthcare professional about your caregiving role, and don't hesitate to ask for help from family and friends. You can also connect with other caregivers through community support groups and finally, make sure to take care of yourself both physically and emotionally.