Recognizing the Demands on Caregivers during National Family Caregivers Month
November 2017 is an opportune time to acknowledge the intense pressures on the average American caregiver. The Caregiver Action Network provides this overview of a day in the life of the average family caregiver:
Morning: Getting off to work
The average family caregiver is a working mother of school-aged children. Mornings become a tricky balancing act of getting the kids ready for school, while making sure your loved one has what they need for the day before getting yourself out the door for work.
All Day Long: Managing medications
Up to 70 percent of the time, the family caregiver – not the patient –manages the medications, especially for those with serious illness. Many people with chronic conditions take eight or more medications. In addition to organizing and administering medications, this means ensuring your loved one is taking their medication correctly and maintaining an up-to-date medication list.
During the Workday: Juggling caregiving and work
Six out of 10 family caregivers work full- or part-time in addition to juggling their caregiving responsibilities at home. And most of them say they have to cut back on working hours, take a leave of absence, or quit their job entirely.
Given all of these challenges, it’s important to maintain your own health and well-being, and that of other family members. Here are a few tips to keep you functioning at your best:
Evening: Family time and meal time
Ensuring that you get proper nutrition will help you maintain strength, energy, stamina, and a positive attitude. Nutrition is as important for you as the caregiver as it for your loved one. Caregiving affects the whole family.
Late at Night: Taking time for yourself
Late at night might be the only time you get a few minutes for yourself. Make sure you take time to rest and recharge. The chance to take a breather and re-energize is vital in order for you to be as good a caregiver tomorrow as you were today.
The Middle of the Night: Emergency room visits
Have you ever had to take your loved one to the emergency room in the middle of the night? Be prepared ahead of time with what you need to know and what you need to have with you, such as their list of medications, a copy of their living will, etc.
We commend the nation’s health payers for their support and concern for the well-being of family caregivers, and stand ready to complement their initiatives with resources that assist these dedicated men and women in getting the information and support they need.