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Gainesville Florida Estate Planning & Elder Law Blog

Monday, August 13, 2018

The Challenges of Caregiving

If you have spent any time as a caregiver, or if you know someone in that role, one thing is certain: the biggest challenges facing caregivers is finding time to take care of themselves.

It’s almost always true that a person is never ready to assume the caregiver role but circumstances thrust it upon them.

In many cases, the caregiver of an older person is a son or daughter. That’s challenging enough. It’s often the case that the younger caregiver has a spouse and children already. They may also be working. The result is usually that there are not enough hours in the day to do what they’re already doing. Now they have the added responsibility of a parent.

It’s hard enough when the primary caregiver is an adult child. It becomes even more of a challenge when the person thrust in that role is a spouse who may already be dealing with their own issues associated with aging.

And one thing is almost always certain when it comes to a family caregiver. They are convinced that no one can assume the responsibility they have taken on for themselves – and do it better.

A full 82 percent of senior caregivers responded that they cannot say no when it comes to caregiving for a loved one, according to a recent survey done by Wakefield Research. The same survey found the following results – 29 percent of family caregivers spend at least 40 hours a week on caregiving responsibilities, 44 percent suffer from emotional strain, 47 percent neglect their own health and 54 percent feel guilty if they take some respite care for themselves.

As we all know, that’s a recipe for disaster. Caregivers must take the opportunity for respite. If they don’t, they will no longer be able to fill the caregiver role, and that can create even greater problems. If you are a relative or the friend of a caregiver, you need to find a way to get them to take a break. It won’t be easy because, as we know, they will feel guilty if they take time for themselves, and they are convinced no one can do it as well as they can.



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