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.
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.
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