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Caregiver's Are Not Alone

"I feel very alone on this caregiver journey! This is not the aloneness of David facing Goliath and feeling scared and powerless. It is the aloneness of being the only David around."... Caregiver.

1. Statistics show that more than 54 million people provide some form of assistance to ailing family members and friends. Some had caregiving experiences which lasted only six weeks, but others have been caregivers for over 10 years with no end in sight. They have cared for parents, spouses, siblings, and children.

2. Carergiver's have to look after themselves or they become physically and emotionally down and find coping very difficult. Some give up activities they enjoy, including families and friends, and then find themselves socially isolated and lonely.

3. Taking on the role of caregiver is not an easy one. Adjustments, time, and understanding are a must.

4. Many caregivers are amazing, selfless people who would do anything
and everything they can for their loved ones

Being a caregiver is an education in itself, but Caregivers are also an important part of improving the quality of life for an individual. If you're one of the millions of Americans caring for a spouse, older relative or friend, you probably feel as though you have more questions than answers.

There are 650 groups throughout the United States helping people and their caregivers by planning, developing, and providing in-home and community services. They are a gold mine of useful information. Your best place to start finding answers to these and other questions is to consult the nearest area agency on aging.

Caregivers' Unmet Needs

The most frequently reported unmet needs are;

  • finding time for myself (35%),
  • managing emotional and physical stress (29%),
  • balancing work and family responsibilities (29%)

About three in ten caregivers say they need help

  • keeping the person they care for safe (30%)
  • finding easy activities to do with the person they care for (27%)

One in five caregivers say they need help

  • talking with doctors and other healthcare professionals (22%)
  • or making end-of-life decisions (20%)

Caregivers and Work

  • Almost 60% of all caregivers either work or have worked while providing care.
  • 62% have had to make adjustments to their work life, such as reporting late to work or giving up work entirely.
  • Male caregivers are more likely to be working full or part-time than female caregivers (66% vs. 55%)



Caregiver's Code

Caregiving is one of the hardest yet most rewarding jobs in the world. The demands that come along with caring for someone else are endless, but often times caregivers lose focus of their own needs when putting someone else’s ahead of theirs.

Caregiver's should remember the following Code:

"I HAVE THE RIGHT TO ... ask seek help when needed and not feel guilty about not being able cope at the time on my own. I can ask family members for assistance."

"I HAVE THE RIGHT TO ... seek help outside of my family and remove my loved one from a program if I don't feel comfortable with it "

"I HAVE THE RIGHT TO ... have feelings and emotions. I may be depressed one day, but happy the next. I may cry today, but tomorrow I may laugh. Each day is different"

"I HAVE THE RIGHT TO ... take time for myself. This does not mean that I am not looking after my loved one. It means I need a break, so that I can be better caregiver."

"I HAVE THE RIGHT TO ... find humour in situations. This does not mean that I am laughing at my loved one. It means I am looking at the silver lining of the situation."

"I HAVE THE RIGHT TO ... care for my loved one for as long as possible where I want too. I can make changes at any time, so that my loved one can receive quality care."

"I HAVE THE RIGHT TO ... congratulate myself for this caregiving role and that despite everything I am doing the best that I can."

"I HAVE THE RIGHT TO ... vent my frustrations. There is nothing wrong with joining support groups or seeking help from counselors."

Rights as a Caregiver

Caring for a person with Alzheimer’s disease is often a stressful and demanding ordeal. We need to remember that caregivers have human needs and emotions, and that they must care for themselves as well as their loved one. To help cope with the strain of caregiving, it is important to allow oneself to feel varying emotions, including negative ones, express them and deal with them.

Caregivers need to give themselves permission to be human. It is all right to:

  • BE ANGRY. Turn this energy into positive action. Clean a closet, take a walk, or talk with someone.
  • BE FRUSTRATED. Stop what you are doing, take a deep breath, and begin a different activity.
  • TAKE TIME OUT. Sit in a favorite chair in a quiet room, take a trip to the store, spend a few hours out with friends.
  • ASK FOR HELP. Explore family, friends, and local agencies for resource services. Many doctors’ offices and clergy provide referrals.
  • RECOGNIZE YOUR LIMITS. You are a valuable person. Take care of yourself, too!
  • MAKE MISTAKES. Because no one is perfect, and they help you learn.
  • GRIEVE. It is normal to be sad over the loss of the way things used to be.
  • LAUGH AND LOVE. Now more than ever it’s important to have meaningful connections.
  • HOPE. Tomorrow, the day may go smoother, a friend may call, and new treatments may be found.