The National Leiomyosarcoma Foundation offers tips for caregivers in this holiday season.
Dear Family Members/Caregivers:
Throughout the holiday season, I once again reflect on caregivers everywhere. According to a report by the National Alliance for Caregiving in collaboration with the AARP, over 65 million people, 29% of the US population, provide support to a family member or friend who is chronically ill, disabled, or aged. Caregivers spend an average of 20 hours per week providing for their loved ones. Approximately 66% of family caregivers are women. 37% of caregivers have children or grandchildren under 18 years old living with them.
Caregivers at any age is challenging at times. Being responsible for the medical, emotional, and financial care and well being of a loved one, especially if one is the sole caregiver, can be a lonely role. If there is a shared responsibility with other family members, making collective decisions can also pose challenges.
The caregiver(s) must keep their own health in check. Family caregivers exhibit fully dedicated caretaking, with many tasks for which they have had no training, and little support. Nearly half have provided complex medical tasks such as wound care or giving injections at times. All this can cause the experience of emotional distress, anxiety, and social isolation. Ongoing stress can put the caregiver's health at risk, even impact family relationships.
As the holidays bring on more pressures, it might be helpful to keep in mind the following tips to balance caring for a loved one with the caregiver being mindful of their own health:
A few resource sites offered for caregivers (along with community resources that may be available in your area):
National Alliance for Caregiving - collaborates with the International Alliance of Carer Organizations (IACO)