Caregiving can be a positive experience for both the person requiring the care and their caregiver. It can enhance a positive relationship or strengthen a bond between people. Aspects of caregiving can bring out one’s abilities to multi-task, to show empathy, patience, and compassion towards another human being in need, as well as to test their knowledge about an ailment or how to deal with medical professionals. Depending on the caregiver’s commitment to the patient, it can be a full-time job.
Yet, like any job that can requires a lot of time and energy, caregiving can also be (or become increasingly) stressful. Adding to the caregiver’s stress can be responsibilities, for example, for his/her own work or other family members. Caregiving itself can have varying degrees of stress – depending on whether the patient requires minimal attention or is considered “total care” (requiring assistance with all aspects of daily living). Compounding the caregiver’s stress can be the patient’s personality and/or their mood affected by the illness they themselves are dealing with.
There is no doubt that anyone who has been or is a caregiver will tell you that they can — at times — experience isolation, depression, difficulty sleeping, and other signs of stress. If the person responsible for the care of another starts experiencing these signs of distress, it is time to get additional support. Caregivers need time off and the opportunity to get their own personal needs met. If the signs of stress continue or even increase, then the caregiver will want to see their doctor/PCP for additional help.
Being a caregiver is mentally and physically challenging. But, for caregivers to be successful and available in the care of their loved one, then they must remember to be attentive to their own needs, too.
— Kathy Miller, Owner