SENIOR LIVING – CHERIE HENRY– Newspaper stories of elders being physically, mentally and financially abused by their family caregivers are often tucked away in short columns in the back of the paper. For those of us who passionately work in the field of elder care, reading these stories is distressing. According to National Family Caregivers Association, more than 65 million people, 29% of the U.S. population, provides care for a chronically ill, disabled or aged family member or friend during any given year. They spend an average of 20 hours per week providing care for their loved one. There is no vacation time, rescheduling, and little or no income for their time.
Caring for an elder can be satisfying and inspiring for spouses, adult children, other relatives and friends. However, for some, the growing strain of providing care can be too much to manage. This tension has the potential of leading to mental and physical health problems such as impatience, unable to control tempter, inability to cope with stress, depression, feeling a lack of support, therefore, caring becomes burdensome, without reward and exhaustion ensues.
We understand the physical and emotional aspects of caregiving. We know it’s often difficult for a caregiver to ask for help when they believe they should be able to do it all. No one should ever be so overwhelmed they feel trapped. If you or you know someone who could use a health break we are here to support you. There are resources to provide temporary elder care, either in-home or at a care community. All caregivers should be able to take time to renew, enrich and relax.