Caregivers - We have a lifeline for you
If you are a caregiver, there is a good chance you’ve felt some kind of anxiety, depression, or even suicidal thinking since the pandemic. Let us help you help them.
Who are the caregivers?
20% of US Adult Population
Average age 49 years old
Spend an average of 24 hours/week caregiving, for an average of 4 years
Nearly half “feel they have no choice”
50% became first time caregivers during the pandemic. So for half of our current caregivers, this caretaking business is a new and unexpected role. Caregiving is such a selfless role and you DESERVE to have just as much support and compassion as you are providing to others. Since the pandemic onset, the role of a caregiver has been particularly challenging.
References: Norc; Family Caregiver Alliance
What caregivers do?
Assist persons with a disability or illness (health, mental health, or both)
ADL’s (bathing, toileting)
Advocacy/communication with medical providers
No wonder y’all are so exhausted! The “sandwich generation” has it pretty bad: caregiving for aging parents, working full time, and caring for minor children at home. Something's gotta give or you’re going to give out.
SoulSpring Counseling is here to help prevent that “give out” from being you. Let us help!
“The National Institute on Aging suggests that caregivers find someone they can talk with and truly vent to without judgment. Being able to confide in someone often helps to head off feelings of isolation and powerlessness in overwhelmed caregivers. Those who receive regular emotional support are better equipped to prevent burnout, handle difficult care decisions and balance their own needs with those of their loved ones … Skilled therapists can help you process your feelings, learn to set boundaries, strengthen your problem-solving abilities, and improve communication with your care recipient and other family members.” (Aging Care)
Are you a Caregiver? Does this sound like you?
Are you neglecting your own healthcare appointments but make sure your loved one gets to every one of theirs?
Is your own exercise and healthy eating a thing of the past, but you make sure your loved one eats every meal?
Even if there were no pandemic, do you believe you even have the time or energy to see your friends? Enjoy your hobbies? Get 8 hours of sleep?
If you are honest, have you neglected your own daily hygiene? Is your shampoo bottle lonely?
Have you given up employment income to spend more time caregiving?*
Do you see an end to your loneliness? Exhaustion? Irritability? Insomnia?
Does “Wine-Thirty” keep starting earlier and earlier? Do you dip into “mother’s little helper”?
If you are really honest, are you one of the 67% of caregivers who have reported since the pandemic an increase in depression, anxiety, and/or suicidal thinking? (i.e., “I would be totally fine not waking up tomorrow.”)
*FYI: “Single females caring for their elderly parents are 2.5 times more likely than non-caregivers to live in poverty in old age.” [Donato, K. & Wakabayashi, C. (2005)
Let’s stay honest, shall we? The more of those boxes you checked off, the more likely it is you would benefit from seeking help from a trained counseling professional. Wouldn’t you agree?
Sometimes we all just need someone to talk to. We would benefit from someone helping to compassionately guide us through the process of caregiving. We need to know our feelings and experiences are normal!
And the research backs it up. According to the National Institutes of Health, several psychotherapeutic interventions were “consistently found to be effective in reducing caregiver distress”. These interventions are what we do! They are:
Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
Individual, Group, and Family therapy
Validation that negative feelings (guilt, irritability, resentment, anxiety, exhaustion) are normal. You are not alone!
Our SoulSpring Counseling therapists will listen to all you have to say ... and even what you don’t want to say … in a non-judgmental way. Because we get it. After you’ve upheaved it all, we then will help you open up space to allow you to give yourself permission to provide effective types of care for yourself.
Let's help you create strategies so you can safely reduce caregiver stress, without compromising the care of your loved one.
It's not going to get magically better in one day. (We know you know that.) But with compassionate, professional support, you can replenish your own health little by little, over time.
Don’t burn out. Don’t drown. We’ve got your lifeboat right here. Just give us a call. (561) 463-3078.
Jennifer Alminana LCSW, who specializes in working with caregivers, contributed to content of this article.