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Facts All Family Caregivers Need to Know

Caregiving is an act of love. It can be satisfying and rewarding, but it is also an around-the-clock commitment. As premier provider of home care in Westfield, we understand that you’re likely going to experience a roller coaster of emotions and wanted to provide a few facts about caregiving that every family caregiver needs to know.

  1. Stress is Part of the Job – Stress can take many forms. Loved ones can make us angry if they are difficult to reason with. Loneliness can cause stress when you’ve had to change your social life and personal schedule. The physical responsibilities of caregiving can lead to stress and exhaustion at the end of the day. While stress is often associated with caregiving, it is important to find the right outlets to manage stress, whether by attending support groups or receiving help from professional caregivers in Westfield.
  2. Your Health is Important – A caregiver’s health suffers when the ongoing stress is ignored and routine health measures and breaks are not taken. In fact, caregivers shorten their own life span and put themselves at higher risk for heart disease, cancer and diabetes. While you feel as if the care of your loved one is of the utmost importance, it is crucial not to neglect your own doctor’s appointments or medications.
  3. Depression is Common Among Caregivers – Feelings of sadness and anger can trigger depression, something that is completely normal for those who are responsible for the care of an aging loved one. If you have lost interest in activities, experience feelings hopelessness or have difficulty concentrating, see your doctor. Certain illnesses or medications can cause depression, so it’s best to let a physician determine how to help you. If left untreated, it can affect the quality of care you give a loved one.
  4. Burnout Can Occur Quickly – Becoming “bured out” can happen in a matter of weeks and can cause a caregiver to feel overwhelmed, unable to meet the demands of caregiving. While burnout is the result of enduring too much stress, for too long, burnout affects caregivers at different rates. It is important for caregivers to take the proper steps to care for their physical health as soon as problems or changes are identified so their emotional health stays strong and they can provide the highest level of care.

Taking care of an elderly loved one comes with a personal price unless you are prepared for the hardships. Seeking the help of your doctor, a support group or friends and family, can make all the difference. For additional information about support for family caregivers, contact Home Care Assistance at 908.450.9400 and ask about our flexible options for hourly care in Westfield.