Caregiving can bring about a roller coaster of feelings. You are grateful but also overwhelmed. You can experience both joy and sadness, hope and helplessness, all on the same day. There is a tactical side of caregiving–from coordinating nurses and doctors visits, to managing meds to sometimes assisting with grooming. Yet caregiving is also an inherently emotional task for some as you watch your once vibrant loved one deteriorate physically and sometimes cognitively. Caregiving is filled with so many unknowns and the needs of the loved one you are caring for can be so unpredictable.
I know how you feel! I am currently caregiver to my ninety year-old mother who, even though she has chronic health challenges, is still so very vibrant! Oh and did I mention, I’m doing this while also being a fulltime entrepreneur, author, and church leader. I am grateful to God for giving me so many years with my mother and providing the means through my family and caregiving team for me to care for her. But I understand that I, just like you, face challenges.
I have received overwhelming feedback that this topic resonates with so many people, so God put it on my heart to make this a series. Over the next 12 months, I will collaborate with some of my esteemed colleagues to create an informational series on caregiving. This includes seeking emotional support, being made aware of resources available to you, finding peace and joy in caregiving, and so much more. I look forward to providing support, resources, and a safe space for caregivers to feel supported and seen. I can’t wait to share this with you!
Caregiving can look different for each person. It can be caring for an elderly parent full time, caring for a minor child when a loved one has passed away, and also providing permanent care for a child who has special needs. It can also range from someone who needs around the clock care, partial care, or just being a support system for elderly relatives who no longer want to live on their own.
Caregiving can be an emotional journey. According to an article published by the CDC, caregiving for family and friends and the mental and physical toll it can take has been identified as a public health issue.
- 14.5% of caregivers reported experiencing 14 or more mentally unhealthy days a month.
- 36.7% of caregivers reported getting insufficient sleep, which is defined as sleep for 7 hours or less
These issues must be addressed in our community and I want to make sure to do my part to do so.
You may feel alone, but statistics show that you are not. According to a report published by the National Alliance for Caregiving and the AARP Public Policy Institute:
- 53 Million people in the US provide unpaid caregiving for a loved one for 20 hours a week or more.
- 61 percent of caregivers are female; and 39 percent male. The typical caregiver is a woman in her late 40’s caring for their widowed mother
Does that sound familiar? You are seen! Understand that you are not alone in this and most importantly, God is with you.
According to an Evercare Survey of the Economic Downturn, free caregiving is valued at $375 billion per year. Children and teenagers are also becoming caregivers, so it is important that we acknowledge that they need mental, emotional, and physical support as well.
I share these statistics to show that we are doing important work here, it is impactful, and most importantly, we need support! I pray that you find encouragement and some support through this blog series.
Stay in Touch!
~Dr Jeanne Porter King
2020 Report Caregiving in the U.S.
Caregiving for Family and Friends — A Public Health Issue