There are two groups of caregivers that are typically used to help those with medical needs navigate certain activities of life. One group is unpaid and typically refers to those who are family members or a friend of the person receiving the care. The other group consists of those who are paid by a company to provide care in the home. This second group can also include those who provide care in long-term facilities.
Each of these groups can experience tough situations that can cause anxiety, depression, or other physical, mental, and emotional strains. Most of the caregivers become attached to the person they care for, which can cause added emotions. When it comes to caring for family, people need to have access to caregiver support.
Common issues faced by caregivers.
There are common issues that most caregivers face and can present themselves at any time. Whether the caregiver is male or female, the issues remain the same.
Stress: It is common for stress to manifest itself when you have been a caregiver for any amount of time. It’s not necessarily the amount of time, it’s the weight of the situation that brings about feeling as though you are exhausted.
Isolation: Being a caregiver means that you spend less time participating in activities that you enjoy and more time in your role. This can cause you to feel as though you no longer have friends. There are times that you may feel like no one understands.
Anxiety: Sometimes it may seem as though the worries of caregivers increase. It could stem from having doubts about doing everything the right way for the person you are caring for.
Frustration: Due to the anxiety and feeling like you are alone in the entire endeavor, frustration can become an issue. You may find that you are testy and quick to become angry over small things.
Guilt: Being a family member who is taking care of a family member can make room for guilt to play a part in the anxiety you feel. You begin to think you are selfish because you want to take a day off and enjoy yourself.
Exhaustion: Being a caregiver day after day can leave you feeling like you have no energy to take care of yourself. You may find that you are so exhausted you have difficulty sleeping.
Depression: Taking care of a family member can bring you to a place of depression. You feel as though you aren’t doing things correctly. Sometimes you feel like crying.
Burnout: After being in the caregiver role for so long you could be facing burnout. You get the feeling that you are going through the motions and not making any difference.
Physical health issues: You may find yourself facing various kinds of physical issues. Headaches, stomach issues, blood pressure, fatigue, and a weakened immune system can be a few of the issues that arise from the stress of taking care of someone.
Substance abuse: It may have started as a way to unwind after a tough day of caring for a person, but it leads to dependency. Trying to get away from the situation through alcohol or other substance only causes more issues.
How to support a caregiver
Learning how to support a family member or friend who is in the role of caregiver is something that will help them and the person they care for. Everyone who cares for a person with medical needs should have access to caregiver support. Whether it is online counseling or someone who stops by to visit and encourage.
Take time to listen to them when they express that they just need someone to talk to. They aren’t necessarily looking for answers, they just need a connection with someone willing to listen. Let them define what they need. This could give you an idea of how to help them. Maybe they just need a break long enough to shower or nap. Sometimes a simple card of encouragement will create a new outlook.
Letting the caregiver know that you are there to help in any way will give them a sense of value. Make sure that they have access to caregiver support programs in the area.
And let’s consider how to encourage one another in love and good deeds. – Hebrews 10:24, NASB
If you find that you or someone you know needs caregiver support, reach out to us at Newport Beach Christian Counseling. There are many Christian counselors in Newport Beach who can help you find the support you need while you care for your family or friend.
“Dancing on the Bed”, Courtesy of Getty Images, Unsplash.com, Unsplash+ License; “Holding Hands”, Courtesy of National Cancer Institute, Unsplash.com, CC0 License