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Are you a Family member caring for a loved one? “How are you doing?” 1

By Gerry Fioriglio RN, BS

Caregivers are often so concerned with caring for their relative’s needs that they lose sight of their own well-being.

Statistics show that the number one feeling a caregiver has is sadness or depression due to the act of caregiving. I often hear family members say “I’m not a caregiver because all I do is help with shopping or laundry.” But you are a caregiver. The definition of a caregiver is “someone who attends to the needs of another individual.”

Caregivers surveyed have expressed the following feelings;

  1. Trouble focusing on what you’re doing.
  2. Feeling that you couldn’t leave your loved one alone.
  3. Difficulty making decisions.
  4. Felt lonely.
  5. Upset that the loved one has changed so much from his/her former self.
  6. Felt a loss of personal time.
  7. Had sleep interrupted because of caring for a loved one.
  8. Had crying spells.
  9. Felt strained with family responsibilities.
  10. Felt ill (headaches, stomach problems, common colds).
These are significant feelings you should not ignore. Many caregivers begin to feel guilty about having these feelings. Yet most struggle without seeking help; help to deal with feelings they are having and/or help with the care of their loved one.

There is help out there for caregivers. You don’t need to do it all yourself. And you don’t need to feel guilty about getting help. It is the best thing you can do for your loved one. Because when you take care of yourself you are taking care of them.

What can you do?

  • See your doctor for a check-up. Talk to your doctor about your feelings.
  • Schedule some relief from caregiving. Yes, you are the expert in your loved one’s care but there are professional caregivers who can help you.
  • Consider joining a Caregiver Support Group. You will find a lot of support from other caregivers. You are not alone.

For more information on the issues of caregiving or finding a caregiver support group contact Family Caregivers Network, experts in the care of seniors we ensure the safe living of your loved ones. Family Caregivers Network holds Support Groups the last Thursday of each month. To join us call 215-541-9030 or visit Family Caregivers Network Website for more information. We welcome comments to this post.