Many of us will become the caregiver of a parent or loved one. It's a rewarding endeavor, but it can be filled with enormous challenges. Be prepared by recognizing some of the difficulties that caregivers encounter:
See also: 8 rules for the new caregiver.
- Time management: Caregiving takes time. As a result, caregivers have less time for other family members and themselves. In a recent study by the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP, more than half of caregivers reported that their duties have caused them to sacrifice vacations, hobbies or other activities.
- Competing demands: Balancing caregiving responsibilities with the demands of a job can be difficult. Tasks — such as calling doctors, checking in with social workers, arranging services and scheduling appointments — entail daytime hours. That's why the majority of caregivers say they need workplace accommodations such as going in late, leaving work early or taking time off. Click here (link to: CRC BASICS balance work care) for more on balancing work and caregiving.
- Financial implications: The costs linked to caregiving add up. A study by the National Alliance for Caregiving found that the out-of-pocket cost for caregivers is roughly $5,500 per year. That includes food, travel, transportation, medical insurance co-pays and medications. Long-distance caregivers had even higher estimated expenses, at about $8,700 per year.
- Physical and mental stress: For those providing intense care for long periods, the physical and mental tolls can be heavy. Although most caregivers don't attribute health problems to caregiving, some say they feel frustrated, exhausted, angry or sad. Get more tips on caring for yourself while caring for someone else.