CAREGIVERS: Chronic illness, progressive disease, and some disabilities can last for a significant portion of a person’s life. In these circumstances often times an ill or disabled individual will need help caring for themselves and that is where caregivers come in. A caregiver is a person who takes care of other adults or children with special medical needs. While there are paid caregivers hired to help, a lot of the time caregivers are parents, children, or spouses of the ill or disabled individual.
WHAT CAREGIVERS DO: The amount or type of care given to individuals with special medical needs can differ greatly between different people. However, there are certain things that many caregivers will typically provide for the person they are caring for. These can include simple tasks such as:
- Grocery shopping and cooking
- Providing emotional support and company
- Paying bills
For cases where more care is necessary the caregivers may also:
- Help with bathing, dressing, and using the toilet
- Administer medicine
- Help with eating
HEALTH HAZARDS: Caregivers provide help and support to whoever they are caring for, but there are certain health risks for the caregivers themselves. When entering the role of caregiver, some people are ill-prepared to handle the stress that comes along with it and do not have a support system. Feeling stress, anxiety, and depression are common for many people acting as caregivers for family members or friends. There are also some physical health hazards for caregivers with one third of caregivers continuing to care for others while suffering from poor health themselves. Exacerbating the problem even further is that some caregivers do not have health insurance because they have quit their jobs in order to take care of an ill family member.
HELP FOR CAREGIVERS: Providing care for a loved one doesn’t have to mean your own health suffers. Finding support programs, creating a care plan with support services, and recognizing when your own health, mental or physical, is failing and seeking help can improve the situation for caregivers in need. (Source: www.caregiver.org)