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Resources and Caring for the Caregiver

 

Facts About Caregivers 

  • there are about 18-25 million family caregivers in the U.S. (that’s about 10-15% of the adult population
  • 1 of every 4 households in the U.S. is involved in caregiving (22.4 million households)
  • 56% of caregivers are female, 44% are male
  • the average age of caregivers is 57-60 years old
  • 1/3 to 2/3 of family caregivers are employed full-time or part-time outside the home in addition to their caregiving responsibilities
  • 80% of caregivers provide unpaid assistance 7 days a week
  • average number of hours caregivers provide care is 73 hours per week

  

The “Sandwich Generation”

 

Between 20% and 40% of caregivers have children under the age of 18 to care for on top of their other caregiving responsibilities…so these individuals find themselves caring for their parents and their children…

 

 

Pattern of Caregiving

 

Caregiver roles may often be assigned to family members with the fewest competing responsbilities, including obligations to spouses, children,a nd employees. Often the spouse, then daughter, and son (including son’s spouse) are the individuals involved primarily in the patient’s care.

 

 

What is stress?

 

When someone is subjected to pressure or strain. It can occur when you have been diagnosed with a medical illness, when you have financial difficuties, or when you are called upon to care for someone else suffering from medical or mental difficulties.

 

Caregivers tend to take care fo themselves last and tend to deny their feelings and needs in the face of other people’s needs. These behaviors can lead to burnout on the job, dysfunctionin in one’s personal life, and exacerbation of grief over previously denied or unresolved losses.

 

 

What are the common causes of stress?

  • Prolonged periods of injury or illness
  • Changes experienced by our loved ones, such as changes in behavior, physical capabilities, thinking skills, and mood/emotions.
  • Changes in our roles when something changes dramatically or suddenly.
  • Financial difficulties.
  • A significant in one’s responsibilities.
  • Worry about your loved one’s recovery or ability to return to their former level of functioning.
  • Difficulties obtaining needed medical care or services.

 

Stress can cause or lead to...

  • Trouble thinking and solving problems.
  • Headaches.
  • Problems with your physical health, such as heart problems, poor digestion, and sleep difficulties.
  • Feelings of hopelessness, sadness, and depression.
  • Anxiety or nervousness.
  • Relationship problems with you spouse, parents, children, or friends.
  • Irritability, loss of your temper, impatience, and a desire to withdraw from social interactions.

 

External Stressors can lead to internal stress reactions…

 

     External Stressors (Life events, Environment, Loss, Medical/health issues)

 

     Internal Stress Reactions (Nervous system, Immune system, increased blood pressure, increased pulse rate, Sleep problems, Anxiety, Depression, Muscle tension)

  

 

Coping Effectively with Loss and Change: 

  • Allow yourself time to adjust. Don’t be hard on yourself.
  • Realize that your feelings are a normal response to a new, and possibly difficult, situation.
  • Be patient with yourself and others.
  • Don’t give up on reaching your goals.
  • Realize that it is normal to be worried or focus on the negative.
  • Focus on what your loved one can do rather than on what they can’t do.
  • Remain hopeful.
  • Take one step at a time.
  • Set small goals that can be achieved more easily or more quickly.
  • Avoid thinking about the way that things used to be.
  • Give up some old responsibilities when you need to take on new responsibilities.
  • Remain active and set aside time to do things that you enjoy.
  • Join a support group. Others in a similar situation will offer a great support system and may have good  
  • suggestions for dealing with difficult situations.
  • Try to do something fun regularly with you loved one.
  • Talk to and spend time with people who care about you.
  • Ask for help when you need it.
  • Give yourself regular breaks from caregiving activities.
  • Discuss your concerns with a professional.
  • Learn about other resources for information and assistance.
  • Remember…you have to care for yourself so that you can care for your loved one.

 

 Coping Strategies Handout (in PDF format)

 

Relaxation Strategies Handout

Relaxation Strategies that may be used:                  

  • Breathing exercises
  • Muscle relaxation
  • Visual imagery

Muscle Relaxation Exercises Handout (in PDF format)

Relaxation Exercises Handout (in PDF format)

Steps to Relaxation Handout (in PDF format)

 

Online Resources:

 

www.caregiver.org

Family Caregiver Alliance – This site offers caregiving information and advice. It contains fact sheets and publications.

 

www.familyvillage.wisc.edu

The Family Village – A global community of disability-related resources.

 

www.invisibledisabilities.com

Invisible Disabilities Advocate

 

www.caregivered.org

American Association for Caregiver Education

 

www.care-givers.com

Empowering Caregivers

 

www.biausa.org

Brain Injury Association of America

 

www.medicare.gov

Medicare

 

www.nfcacares.org

National Family Caregiver’s Association

 

www.ssa.gov

Social Security

 

www.vwcdexpo.com

Virtual World Congress & Exposition on Disabilities

 

 

Other websites of interest:

 

www.bestcaregiverinfo.com

 

www.cssdoorway.org/can/

 

www.mindspring.com/~tscontent/bill.htm

 

www.caregivercompanion.com

 

www.caregiver-information.com

 

www.caregivers.com

 

www.caregiverscount.com

 

http://www.acsu.buffalo.edu/~drstall/hndbk0.html

The Caregiver’s Handbook

 

http://iml.unkc.edu/casww/caregivg.htm

 

http://www.caregivers-usa.org/aa/intro.html

 

www.caregiving.com

 

http://espanol.careplanner.org

 

 

 

Other Resources:

 

Disability Information and Referral Service        

1-800-255-3477

 

National Adult Day Services Association            

(866) 890-7357     www.nadsa.org

 

 

Disclaimer: Information listed above is not an endorsement of offered services but merely presented for informational purposes only.

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Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73134
Phone: 405-286-6000
Fax: 405-286-6004