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The Unseen Challenges of Caregiving

| Carer Support

Being a caregiver is a role that millions undertake out of love, dedication, and necessity. It is a role that might be invisible to people not directly involved, with many more challenges a layperson may not realise.

Consider this anecdote from a Time article. “When Nancy Daly was helping to care for her late mother, who had Alzheimer’s disease, the stress was so great that she would often shut herself in a bathroom and cry into a towel.”

At Right at Home, we think of all caregivers as healthcare heroes. Whether they are an unpaid family caregiver or someone who has chosen a caregiving career, the role is critical to those who need help. But what is it really like? Understanding some of the more obscure challenges caregivers face may inspire more people to appreciate their work.

The Emotional Weight

Caregivers often carry a heavy emotional burden. They may experience feelings of guilt, especially when they feel they are not doing enough or when they take time for themselves. They may even experience anger or resentment. As our loved ones’ health fluctuates, the resulting emotional roller coaster can cause continuous stress and anxiety.

The Physical Toll

The physical demands of caregiving are often underestimated. Yes, caregivers may do things like household tasks or keeping the care recipient comfortable. But if the care recipient has mobility issues, the caregiver may need to help them transfer from their bed to the toilet or help them into an accessible van. Over time, these responsibilities can lead to physical strain, exhaustion, and even health issues for the caregiver. Caregivers are at an increased risk of serious illnesses such as depression and cancer and suffer a higher mortality rate than non-caregivers.

Financial Strain

Many caregivers face financial challenges. While they provide care without pay, they often incur expenses related to the care of their loved ones. This financial burden can be compounded if the caregiver must reduce their work hours or even quit their job to provide care.

Social Isolation

Caregiving can be isolating. Time demands often limit caregivers’ ability to maintain social relationships, making them feel lonely and disconnected from others. According to the International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, caring for someone with more than one health problem can compound loneliness. “Caregivers of people with both brain health and physical conditions were the most burdened,” a report found. These caregivers had “the highest levels of loneliness and isolation compared to caregivers of people with either a brain health or physical condition only”.

The Juggling Act

For “sandwiched” caregivers, who also have families of their own, the challenge is twofold. They must balance the needs of their children with the needs of their ageing parents. Additionally, many caregivers are juggling work responsibilities whether they commute or work from home. This adds another layer of complexity to their lives as they strive to manage their career responsibilities along with caregiving duties—a crucial aspect given that working is usually a financial necessity.

Lack of Recognition and Support

One of the hardest parts of being a caregiver is the lack of societal recognition and support. Caregiving is often not seen as “real work” and caregivers may struggle to find adequate resources, support, and respite care.

The role of a caregiver is complex and challenging, touching every aspect of life. It is a role that deserves recognition, support, and understanding. As individuals, we can all help caregivers in some way. You’ve just taken the first step by reading this article. As a society, we need to provide better support systems for caregivers. Their role is indispensable to all of us.

If you are a family caregiver, remember that Right at Home is here to help! Our trained caregivers can help with a range of services, from meal preparation and light housekeeping to assistance with hygiene and mobility. Right at Home is an approved provider of homecare packages. We provide companion care , personal care and skilled nursing support at home. Readers are welcome to contact us to learn about our specific services we can design around you and your loved ones needs.

Keep up to date with COVID 19 information on the following links: 

Australian Government Department of Health 

Victorian Health and Human Services 

NSW Health 

Queensland Health 

ACT Health 

WA Department of Health 

Tasmanian Department of Health 

Northern Territory Department of Health 

SA Health 

Founded in 1995, Right at Home offers in-home companionship and personal care, and assistance to seniors (elderly and aged care), and any adult who needs our care at home including adults living with a disability who want to continue to live independently or age in their home. Right at Home is your local expert for issues related to caring for your loved ones and is dedicated to keeping you informed about home care. With no package management fees, Right at Home allows you to get more care from your package or budget. 

Right at Home is a 'My Aged Care' government approved, home care provider for levels 1 – 4 and offers flexible in-home care services such as nursing care, after hospital care, post-operative care, respite care, dementia and Alzheimer's care. Right at Home also offers assistance with daily living and personal care such as grooming, hygiene, transport, shopping, meal prep, domestic services and social support, so your loved one can enjoy a more independent, vibrant life. Our nurses and caregivers are screened, highly trained, and insured prior to entering your home so you can trust us with the caregiving while you focus on your loved one. 

To find out more, please give us a call on 1300 363 802 or visit our website. 

Right at Home Offices in Australia: ACT & Queanbeyan; ACT Canberra; Adelaide Central; Brisbane Bayside; Brisbane North; Brisbane South; Brisbane West; Central Queensland & Wide Bay; Central West New South Wales; Darling Downs; Far North Queensland; Gold Coast North; Gold Coast South; Gosford; Greater Logan; Hunter & Port Stephens; Ipswich Lockyer Valley; Kalgoorlie Wheatbelt; Macarthur Penrith; Mackay; Melbourne Brighton: Melbourne Glen Waverley; Melbourne North; Moreton Bay Region; Newcastle; Noosa, Gympie & Hinterland; Northern Rivers; Padstow St George; Perth Midland; Perth Northern Suburbs; Perth South Eastern Suburbs; Perth West Coast; Southern NSW; Southwest Victoria; Sunshine Coast; Sydney Central & Eastern Suburbs; Sydney Five Dock; Sydney Inner West; Sydney Liverpool; Sydney Lower North Shore; Sydney Northern Beaches; Sydney Norwest; Sydney Parramatta; Sydney Ryde; Sydney Sutherland Shire; Sydney The Hills; Sydney Upper North Shore; Townsville; 

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