What are the challenges of a caregiver?
The challenges that a caregiver faces both daily and in the long run can be physical, mental, and emotional and they can also take a toll on the caregiver’s personal and professional life. Inarguably, the single greatest demand that providing care for a loved one imposes on people is the fact that care giving is a full time job. Actually, that’s an understatement. Care giving is a 24/7 occupation, on top of your full time job. Caregivers may have to be on call at all hours of the day and night, and that can obviously affect their physical and mental health. Ironically, caregivers may end up needing care themselves.
Time is probably the caregiver’s most valuable commodity, precisely because there is so little of it. As a result, they are often forced to sacrifice what they want to do in order to take care of what they need to do. That means they seldom have time for rest, vacation, or a social life; no time for themselves at all. ‘All work and no play make Jack a dull boy’ doesn’t just apply to hotel caretakers; caregivers can be so affected by the daily grind that there’s even a type of stress named after them.
The hardest thing about time management is how to reconcile a caregiver’s obligations with day job duties. It’s safe to say that most caregivers already have a 9 to 5 job; the problem is that so do the doctors they need to call and the social workers they have to check in with. The services they need to arrange and the appointments they have to make are all daytime occupations. As a result, caregivers are forced to negotiate with their employers to be able to come in late, get off early, and take time off. There’s only one thing they can’t do with their jobs, and that’s quit.
We know that time is money, and that’s true for caregivers too; they are in as much need of money as they are of time. According to the National Alliance for Caregiving, yearly out-of-pocket costs amount to approximately $5,500, including food, travel, transportation, medical insurance co-pays and medications. As we can see, care giving can be quite a catch-22; if you have the time you may not have the money, if you work for the money you may not have the time, and you make the time you may be risking your job. No wonder so many caregivers complain of frustration, exhaustion, anger, and sadness.
Related Read: How can I help a caregiver?