The Fallout and Risks that Family Caregiving has on the Advanced Years

 

How many former and present family caregivers relate to this?  

I quit my job to move back to my childhood home to help with my mother or father, or both, because I knew my time with them is limited and the time I spend with them is quality time to me.

A caregiver’s identity and sometimes, a portion of their lives, becomes wrapped up within the demands of caregiving. Now, no longer needing to shoulder the burden of providing care, the caregiver is left without someone to care for — losing a sense of purpose and usefulness.

Statistics show 60% of family caregivers are working either full-time or part-time in addition to self-care duties, placing strain on the ability to focus and perform while at work.

That was my case.

A recent study of the Elder Orphan Facebook Group, revealed that over 48% of the members have been in a caregiving role. They took care of a parent, child, spouse, or partner. Learning that stat made me think that caregiving can put an adult at risk for aging alone. 

Caregivers are the first responders and the core members of elder help. They make a big part of the health and hospice care team and are an unsung pillar in the United States economy. We contribute a total of 450 billion dollars of unpaid healthcare efforts and labor per year. 

What's Sacrificed

  1. Work productivity, on-the-job focus, and career advancement — the elevated stress at home and on the job place strain on productivity at work and can force one to retire early to care for an ill family member. 
  2. Creates a financial burden, putting strain on the out-of-pocket costs on care-related bills.  
  3. Physical and emotional burden often becomes overwhelming, creating detrimental effects on the body and mental health. 
  4. Social connections and friends dwindle since time and effort are given to the care recipient. Giving care takes so much from the person, the caregiver chooses to withdraw from all connections. The withdrawal can lead to depression, loneliness and isolation. 

The sacrifices made and struggles confronted, caregivers don’t like to think about the challenge of what comes after the death of a care recipient. But some family members, still in the throes of giving care, will peek into the future and relish (at times) or dread what's possible.

(I experienced both.)

And when the funeral is over, the uncomfortable void emerges. And the perfect time to ask: 

What did I learn from the experience? 

This is your opportunity to reflect on the past months and years that have taken you to where you are today. 

Consider journaling or jotting down your "lessons learned."

Because later, when you're faced with thinking about the advanced years... the lessons and hardships you lived through — will be your launching point to new life. 

Tips for starting the aging strategy

  • Do not force action. Just have willingness to think about it. 
  • Start with a wish list. Give permission to feel hope and describe what you prefer to experience in the future. 
  • Be grateful for possibilities. 
  • Understand that any change will take effort, time, and consistency.
  • Admit this is not a one-time thing, it's the first in a series of actions. 
  • Be open to changes. 

Download the FREE Aging 101 Starter Kit and plan your strategy. 

Like my Page at Facebook, click here @Carebuzz -- be sure to attend the Live events every Tuesday, 3:00 PM CST. We'll discuss the various strategies to age well. 

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