Many of you are or have been a family caregiver. Many know someone who is. Often we want to be an encouragement but do not know what to say or where to begin.
The fact is that 3 out of 4 family caregivers who care for someone over the age of 18 either work now or have been working while providing care. Two thirds have had to either give up their jobs of made adjustments to their work life. One in five family caregivers had to take a leave of absence.
Family caregivers spend an average of 20 hours a week caring for their loved ones. Many provide 40 hours a week or more. Often they get overloaded and stressed out when they are not aware of helps available to them. A person caring enough to meet another’s needs often feels a need to be personally involved in all aspects of care.
What needs to happen to ease the burden and lighten the load? Hopefully, this article will give encouragement to you or provide you an opportunity to help another along the way.
I have learned two great lessons through my caregiving years:
- I cannot do everything myself, physically, mentally, or emotionally. Like so many women, I feel it is my responsibility to see a task finished, no matter how difficult. I know in my own mind, I just need to work a little harder or a little wiser—to simply buckle up and do it all.
- It is worth my time to learn what others are doing in my situation and to explore options. I recall being already cramped for any extra time and thinking it was absurd to stop to look at a website or read someone’s books. However, as I did take (make) time to see what others were doing; I was amazed at the help available to me.
With that in mind, I want to share one of my favorite websites for helpful ideas and solutions from those who have been there. Some offer a safe place to chat with other caregivers as well as give information and guidance.
This week we will explore http://www.caregiving.com. This online resource has undergone some upgrades recently; there are many free articles, videos, e-books and helps as well as leisure activities and a safe place to share your concerns and ask questions. (I was honored to have a few of my articles included in their Gift Book series.)
Caregivers often feel isolated; as if they are the only one facing their particular dilemma and see no solution. It is refreshing to read another’s struggles and learn how they dealt with the same issues. I found many ideas, helpful hints, and real helps for my daily journey. Not the least of the benefit was knowing I could contact compassionate, encouraging people who really did understand what I was going through because many had been there.
It isn’t just having someone to share our stress or questions with, we need someone who will understand how blessed we can feel even though we are often tired and strung out. Only one who has been there will understand the feeling of kissing that loved one at night and seeing a slight twinkle in their eyes as they struggle to respond.
I am blessed to have you as a friend; I look forward to visiting with you soon.