(NAPSA)-Are you, or is someone you know a caregiver? Some 44 million adults (some estimate this number to be as high as 54 million) provide care for an older or chronically ill family member at home. Providing such care can be richly rewarding at times, yet considerably burdensome at others. Sometimes the stress on family caregivers can leave them feeling overwhelmed.
Caregivers may experience physical illness, depression, grief, and changes in their own relationships as a result of the care they provide.
Caring for an ill relative is never easy. Challenges can range from the physical (lifting an elderly relative in and out of a chair) to the financial (inability to work outside the home) and to the social (canceled vacations or other plans).
In some cases, caregivers may experience physical illness, depression, grief, and changes in their own relationships as a result of the care they provide.
Helping the Caregiver Care
Friends and other family members can play a critical role in caring for the caregiver by watching for signs of stress and making sure that strained caregivers get the help they need. Some of the signs that a caregiver may be heading for burn-out include:
These feelings can combine to compromise the caregiver's health—as well as the health of the person receiving care. The John A. Hartford Foundation Institute for Geriatric Nursing, based at New York University, has developed a 13-item questionnaire that can be used to quickly identify family caregivers who should seek help and support. It focuses on some of the symptoms mentioned above.
Support & Resources
If you see friends or family members exhibiting some of these signs and symptoms, talk to them about getting help and support. Encourage them to:
Mathy Mezey, RN, EdD, FAAN is the Director of the John A. Hartford Foundation Institute for Geriatric Nursing at the Division of Nursing, The Steinhardt School of Education, New York University. www.hartfordign.org.