Top 5 Challenges Caretakers Face
Top 5 Challenges Caretakers Face
Being a caretaker is one of the most rewarding careers one can have. You dedicate all of your time and energy every day to help others. You work in a field that requires you to be selfless and to be ready to interact with others almost 24/7. You may love your job, but any caretaker can tell you that it is a difficult job. We compiled the top 5 challenges caretakers face.
As a caregiver, you get little to no time for yourself. When you are caring for someone — even a loved one — full time, it can be incredibly difficult to make time for yourself and for self care. Caregivers operate on their patients schedule, and given the fact that caring for seniors can be unpredictable, it can be a challenge when it comes to managing your time. Making plans for yourself is a rarity, and even if you do make plans, you never know when you will have to be there last minute for your patient. If you are having trouble managing your time as a caregiver, check out these tips that the AARP created for time management.
Since caregivers dedicate all of their time improving others lives, it can be easy to become depressed or feel isolated from the rest of the world. This is an unfortunate reality for many caregivers, and it can be hard to get out of a state of depression and loneliness when you are already there. To help mediate those feelings, consider joining a caregiver support group in your area. These groups allow you to interact with individuals who are going through the same things you are.
One thing that those who aren’t in the field of caregiving may not take into consideration is how physically demanding the career is. Caregivers work with all types of people, large and small. If you are a more petite caregiver, it can be really difficult to move a bigger person around. When you have someone putting all of their weight on you and literally using you as their crutch, it can take a huge toll on your body. If your patient is at least somewhat mobile, consider investing in products such as step stools to help your patient get in and out of bed, or grab bars to help them get out of the tub. This can reduce the amount of weight your patient puts on your body. As always, assess their level of ability and only invest in products that you think your patient can use.
According to the AARP, there are over 43.5 million caretakers in the United States who have provided unpaid care to someone in the past year. If you are a family caretaker, odds are you are probably very underpaid, or you aren’t even paid at all. As a family caret taker, you may feel uncomfortable asking to be compensated for the work you do, but at the same time, paying bills is an important part of life.
When your patients sleeping schedule is erratic, you won’t be sleeping too well. Often times you find yourself up in the middle of the night or early in the morning to assist with your patients needs. Since you live in the same household as your patient, you might not sleep well at all in anticipation of your patient needing something, but taking sleeping aids such as melatonin is risky as you want to be alert when your patient needs help. Lack of sleep can lead to insomnia and feelings of depression.
Caregiving is not an easy career. However, despite its challenges, you still persevere through your job every day. Remember that even though your job is difficult, you are doing something selfless and caring, and that many people do not have the same level of commitment and drive that you do. Keep in mind that your physical, mental, and emotional health is just as important as your patients, so if you are feeling like you need help — reach out. You are important too and deserve care as well.