As it stands now, there are over 34 million unpaid caregivers working in the United States who offer support to a loved one 50 years or older suffering from illness. This is an incredibly large part of our population—and remember, this is only the statistic for the caregivers who are unpaid!
Indeed, caregivers are unsung heroes, offering physical, emotional, and at times even spiritual love and counsel. For many adults living with memory loss, their care would not be possible without the loving guidance and support of someone looking after them. But this also puts an unfair stress on people trying to balance their caregiving life with their other life. How does one reconcile the two?
Thankfully, technology is helping catch up to our aging population, which takes some of the burden off of caregivers. For example, long-term community-based care delivery systems and technological innovations make certain responsibilities and tasks much easier. Meals on Wheels, for example, provides quality nutritious food to seniors in need, which takes the load off a caregiver cooking three meals a day for their loved one.
Isolation is a major part of the caregiving process—both for the disabled or ill person and also the caregiver herself. Integrating into the community, whether it’s through community care programs or home visits, help break up some of that alone time. Caregivers, too, need to make time for themselves and see to it they are socializing in the ways in which they need with family and friends outside of the home.
Having someone to talk to and confide in about the daily stresses of caregiving is an important aspect for caregivers, especially for those feeling trapped by their own feelings. Take some time and explore the options that are right for you. No one should have to delve into this territory all on your own—and frankly speaking, caregiving is not possible alone. Seek out help where you need it, integrate exercise into your schedule as much as you can and carve out room for yourself and your own needs and interests.