Challenges of being a family caregiver

Care provided at home is often considered the preference of the elderly. Informal care—often provided by spouses, adult children, and other family members, accounts for most of the care the elderly currently receive in developing countries. Caring for a loved one can be rewarding; we feel confident of the care our loved one is receiving, we are able to be there for them and also be around them more often, they feel more comfortable expressing themselves to us an also, it is less costly. To most family caregivers, caring for their loved one is one of the most fulfilling experiences, however, it also comes with its own challenges.

Financial strain
In Cameroon, for example, a greater part of the older adult population experience poverty as they are often on retirement, with little or no retirement plans and benefits. Family Caregivers usually tend to pay for health needs out of their pocket and if they have a job that is very demanding they may sometimes have to quit their jobs to take better care of the loved one. This poses a greater financial strain on them and on the family.

Experience burnout
Taking care of a loved one can be very stressful. There are a lot of tasks to handle, from managing medications to helping with getting dressed or bathing. This can sometimes lead to caregiver burnout. Caregiver burnout is a state of physical, emotional and mental exhaustion. It may be accompanied by a change in attitude, from positive and caring to negative and unconcerned. Caregivers who are “burned out” may experience fatigue, stress, anxiety and depression.

Little time to care for themselves
Depending on how advanced an illness or ailment may be, some patients need round-the-clock care. Eating, bathing, light exercise, medication–these tasks can take up large chunks of a caregiver’s day.

The tendency to mar other valuable relationships
Caring for a loved one can take away time from relationships with others, just as much as it can take away time from self. Dinner dates, hobbies, and other activities with friends and family may seem difficult to attend.

Constant worry
Family caregivers can often find themselves constantly worrying about how their loved one is faring when they are not around them. This can leave the caregiver feeling nervous, restless or tense and quite possibly depressed.

Risk of health issues
Research shows that family members who provide care to individuals with chronic or disabling conditions are themselves at risk. Emotional, mental, and physical health problems arise from complex caregiving situations and the strains of caring for ill relatives. Risk of illness, injury, mortality, weakened immune system, depression and anxiety are usually associated with this situation.

Feelings of isolation
Feelings of isolation and loneliness can arise due to a withdrawal from previous habits and lifestyle. Oftentimes, caregiving duties take up so much of the caregiver’s time that they no longer maintain social connections outside of the home.

Lack of knowledge
Family caregivers typically have little or no medical knowledge. This lack of knowledge can make caregiving seem very daunting, particularly if the older adult’s medical condition is complex and decisions made will impact their health and wellbeing.

Caregiver challenges can have serious ramifications for the lives of family caregivers. It’s important to seek a balance between caregiving and your own life. You can try to; share the responsibility, practice Self Care, be open to technologies and strategies that allow your family member to remain as independent as possible, get a good night’s sleep, focus on what’s truly important, and be up-front about your limitations, ask help from other family members to share in the financial burden.

If practicing these tips still doesn’t help, you can get home health care for your loved one. Home healthcare has the benefit of relieving caregiver stress as someone else can take care of your loved one so you can have time to focus on yourself. You can contact Klarah today to subscribe for home health care for your loved one. Klarah has a network of nurses present throughout Cameroon and can therefore attend to patients from anywhere. Our technological advancement also helps those in the diaspora to keep up with their parents and loved ones health from a distance.

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