Caring for Caregivers
Experts estimate that there are at least 65 million family caregivers nationwide. These individuals take on the role of caring for loved ones who are getting older and require assistance with daily tasks like cooking, cleaning, paying bills, getting to doctor’s appointments, and more. In northern Michigan alone, it is estimated that 30 percent of the population is over 60, which means almost everyone knows someone who is involved with the day-to-day care of a senior.
While the caregiver role can often be a fulfilling opportunity to spend more time with an aging loved one, it can also be a major source of stress. The concept is known as “compassion fatigue,” where someone spends so much of their time and energy taking care of someone else’s needs that they forget to take care of their own. The results may include high levels of stress and anxiety, physical exhaustion, depression, or declining health.
In this context, it is important to think about ways that we can care for our caregivers, too. Sometimes, that might mean offering to help with daily caregiving tasks, or even filling in for a few hours or days to give the regular caregiver some time off to breathe, rest, and take some time for themselves. Other times, it might mean bringing over a tin of cookies or a bottle of wine and just talking, giving the caregiver a chance to enjoy someone else’s company or even to vent some of their frustrations.
Caregivers are true-life superheroes, but sometimes they forget their own limits and push themselves too hard. Offering to lend a hand—or perhaps even connecting them with Comfort Keepers and our network of professional in-home caregivers—can make a world of difference.
Art of Aging: 9&10 News Segment
Take care of your loved one’s health as well as your own
Respite Care: Support for Family Caregivers
Caring for the Caregivers: Research and Resources for Family Caregivers