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Common Difficulties Faced by Family Caregivers

Let's face the truth – caregiving isn't an easy task. However, you might not know this unless you have firsthand experience. A lot, other than the money, goes into caregiving. For instance, a single caregiver in the US spends, on average, 24 – 40 hours each week offering care to their loved ones. The caregiving burden is seemingly high among individuals taking care of their partners or spouses. A recent report by AAR showed that 1 out of every 5 Americans offers unpaid care to individuals with functional or health needs. Typically, family caregivers engage in duties above and beyond helping with daily living activities such as eating, dressing, and bathing. 

Let's look at the common challenges that family caregivers face.

The Common Difficulties Faced by Family Caregivers

Most family caregivers face significant challenges, becoming anxious and even overwhelmed by daily tasks. 

Some common difficulties include:

1. Time Management

Being a caregiver involves sacrificing everything to see that your loved ones get the necessary attention they need. Caregiving duties are time-consuming, and as a caregiver, you end up with less or no time for yourself or your other family members.

When working, it becomes even harder to maintain a healthy balance between your caregiving and employment schedules. 

2. Physical and Emotional Stress

A rising number of caregivers report burnout and worsening health status since starting caregiving. You are more likely to have heightened levels of emotional stress if you care for someone with a chronic condition such as Alzheimer's or dementia.

Caregiving comes with extreme physical demands, which can also take a toll on you. Usually, this is a typical case for family caregivers who have to help with mobility and lifting items. 

3. Financial Strain

Most caregiving cases involve caring for loved ones living with chronic conditions. Usually, such illnesses call for expensive medications and diets that can strain you financially, especially if you do not have good medical coverage. 

You are also highly likely to experience significant financial strain if you are juggling work and caregiving. 

4. Sleep Deprivation 

Sleep is an essential element in anybody's health. As a caregiver, you can be deprived of sleep because you stay up late to attend to duties, are concerned or worried about your loved one, or have to keep up with your loved one's sleep cycle.

Continued sleep deprivation can have a significant toll on you. What's more, it becomes even worse if you are already facing physical and emotional stress. 

How to Deal with Family Caregiving Common Difficulties

Here are some actionable tips to help you address the highlighted challenges:

  • Accept Help: Nobody will know you need assistance unless you speak up. Create a list of some areas you feel you need help with, then talk to a few family members and friends to ask for help.

  • Set Daily Goals: You can address your time management issue by creating a daily routine guided by several goals. Often break down your activities into small tasks and handle them based on their urgency.

  • Exercise Regularly: set some time to do light physical exercises. Such activities will help you keep fit and relieve stress as well.

  • Join a Support Group: You probably feel overwhelmed and alone – you are not alone; many family caregivers share the same experience. Join a support group near you; it would be handy for your interaction, connection, and even learning a few problem-solving strategies other caregivers employ. 

New York State's Medicaid CDPAP program

New York State's Medicaid CDPAP program can help relieve some of the financial strain of family caregiving. You can get paid to care for a loved one. Contact Elite Choice, a fiscal intermediary for the CDPAP program today to learn more.

Written by: Leah Ganz
Director of Patient Services

Leah Ganz, RN, BSN is the Director of Patient Services at Elite Home Health Care. She has an extensive background in homecare and previously worked in various specialties including pediatrics, pain management and internal medicine. She oversees all patient services across Elite's departments.