Visit any family caregiver website and you will find an abundance of statistics proving that family caregivers are not alone, that care giving is difficult, and that if caregivers follow their general suggestions, “Make time for yourself,” you will be OK.
Family caregivers average 21 hours per week providing care to needful loved ones and as time passes, additional hours are required to meet increasing demands. The average length of time a family caregiver provides care for a loved one is 4.6 years. According to studies by the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP, 70% of working caregivers suffer work-related difficulties due to their caregiving roles. Among working caregivers caring for a family member or friend, 69% report having to rearrange their work schedule, decrease their hours or take an unpaid leave in order to meet their caregiving responsibilities. Also, 5% turn down a promotion, 4% choose early retirement and 6% give up working entirely. In another study by the MetLife Mature Market Institute, a key finding reports that for those who left the workforce early, the cost impact for the average male or female caregiver over the age of 50 who cares for a parent is $303,880 in lost wages, pension, and Social Security benefits.
What is the cost of burnout, and who fills in when the family caregiver needs help themselves?
Many caregivers wait until a crisis hits with mom or dad or themselves and are forced into making quick decisions that may be uninformed. Many of the phone calls trusted advisors receive asking for help are after an injury, fall, hospital or skilled rehabilitation stay. The good news is that caregivers can do more than just survive family caregiving. The better news is that this can be the most gratifying time for loved one and the most fulfilling time for caregivers. Family caregivers would be better suited to create a plan that allows time management for self, family, and loved one: a plan that also considers career goals, outside interests and additional help. Consider consulting a geriatric care manager, a social worker or other resources like Caregiver Harbor which caters to caring for caregivers themselves. Frequently, licensed home care agencies can assist with hands on care, housekeeping or transportation and allow important respite and time management opportunities for busy caregivers. Thanks to Frank Blood at www.caregiverharbor.com