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December 5, 2021

LABOR OF LOVE

Caregivers shouldn’t do it all alone.

Caring for an elderly, chronically ill or disabled family member is a labor of love. More than 40 million people show up every day to make sure those in their care have a good quality of life–sometimes even sacrificing the quality of their own. 

Sleep problems, anxiety, mood swings–even depression. If you’re a caregiver experiencing feelings like those, you may be headed toward caregiver burnout–and you’re not alone. Over 12 million people report being stressed or worse from taking care of others. 

If you’re a caregiver, here are some signs that indicate you may need some extra help. 

  • Withdrawing from friends and family 
  • Lacking interest in activities you enjoy
  • Feeling hopeless and helpless
  • Eating less or more than usual 
  • Changing sleep patterns.
  • Getting sick more than usual
  • Thinking of self-harm or harming the person in your care
  • Physical and/or emotional exhaustion
You have resources

If a few or more of the above warning signs sound all too familiar, here are some resources you can turn to for help. It’s important to remind yourself that seeking additional support doesn’t make you any less capable or caring–you need to take care of yourself as well.

-Caregiver support services are online or community support groups made up of other caregivers who meet regularly to talk through challenges, offer advice or strategies for coping and can often help locate other resources either virtual or based in your community. 

-Area Agencies on Aging are a national network of nonprofits created by Congress to provide information about available programs, services and housing to elderly people or their caregivers.

-AARP has an entire web page devoted to guides, resources and more for family caregiving at https://www.aarp.org/caregiving/

-Private care aides, which may sound expensive, but most charge by the hour for an approximate fee of around $25–and sometimes taking an hour or two for yourself can make all the difference.    

-Adult day care is a surprisingly low-cost option at a national average of about $75 for up to 8 hours–long enough to give yourself the day off for a change–and they provide a host of activities for your loved one.

-Employee benefits & insurance may also have resources available that you weren’t aware of and asking just may put you in touch with the kind of  support you need. 

-Get googling because every community can have resources not listed here or one that your support group is not aware of.

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