HER HEALTH - Sponsored Section

A Caregiver in Distress

By Amy Hentschel

So many of our senior care phone calls come from stressed out, burned out family caregivers.  Their stories all have the same familiar details including years of giving personalized one-on-one care, sleepless nights, injuries of their own and complete frustration and exhaustion.  The most important element of all runs through each family’s story, the sense of duty and obligation to the ones they love.  “I know I can’t keep doing this, but I’m ok right now”.  “I promised her I would never put her into an institution”. “No one can care for my mother like I can”.

Here are some startling statistics about caregivers in America today:

  • There are 65 million caregivers providing 20 hours or more of unpaid care a week
  • Of these family caregivers, 60% work outside of the home
  • 70% suffer from depression
  • Women make up 66% of the caregivers and 64% of those live with the loved one
  • An estimated 30-40% of caregivers die before the ones they are caring for do
  • National Alliance for Caregiving in collaboration with AARP; November 2009

When we receive these calls, our goal is to come along side the family in need and help put resources in place to begin to relieve the heavy burden.  Our goal is get the professionals in place either through home care services, adult day programs, or placement in assisted living to take over the physical care giving.  Only then can that family caregiver return to caring for themselves and being the family member they were meant to be.  We finally see the family restored and everyone back in their proper roles.  I often tell families, “Caring for your loved one 24 hours/day, 7 days/week is a task we simply weren’t designed to perform. It’s like asking yourself to fly like a bird.  It sounds like a lovely endeavor until you step off the limb”.  Once the care is in place, we connect our families to the many and wonderful support groups in Gwinnett County.  It helps to talk with others that have walked in your shoes and have gone before you.

Amy Hentschel is a senior care consultant and owner at Senior Provisions, LLC. For more information visit www.SeniorProvisions.com ■


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