WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Being a caregiver is a huge task; they take on someone else’s responsibilities to help them live their day-to-day life.
Typically someone is in need of a caregiver because of their old age, disability, a disease, or mental disorder.
According to National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP, over 44 million people in the U.S. are family caregivers. Over half of those people have other jobs on top of caregiving and on average, caregivers provide 21 hours of care per week.
“Caregiving is, if not the hardest, one of the hardest jobs out there,” said Jason Clamme, the Engagement Manager at Lower Cape Fear Hospice. “It’s very taxing emotional and physically. Often caregivers get lost in their work for their loved ones.”
There are many factors to consider when caregiving:
- What to do: caregivers are the extension of health care systems. They are often the :home-based" care coordinators. They work with doctors to continue the care at home to help cut down on medical costs.
- Mental and physical health effects: caregivers often face stress and the disruption of their own well-being. Caregiving can take a toll on someone especially if you’re caring for a loved one.
- The cost: According to a 2007 study, caregivers reported spending over $5,000 out-of-pocket.
- Positive aspects of caregiving: A survey from the National Opinion Research Center found that 83% of caregivers viewed it as a positive experience due to the sense of giving back to someone who has cared for them, such as a parent or grandparents. Some say caregiving allowed them to grow personally and give meaning and purpose to their life.
- The needs of the caregiver: The needs for a caregiver are often overshadowed by the needs of the person they are caring for. Caregivers need support from colleagues, spouses, children, or friends.
“Even if you’re not caring for someone now, most people will be a caregiver sometime in their life,” said Clamme. “It would be good for that aspect, but really, its also about self-care and we all over extend and we all have commitments and responsibilities that weigh on us from time to time.”
The Lower Cape Fear Hospice offers many resources for caregivers in North and South Carolina. On the first Wednesday of every month, they offer a Caregiver Essentials education program in Horry County, South Carolina. Click here or call 843-594-2255 for details.