As adults age, their care requirements increase. But just 4.5% of the elderly population enter a nursing home, while another 2% enter assisted living. This leaves 93.5% of the elderly population left to be cared for by themselves or loved ones. For many, providing care services becomes a full-time job, as it can be unsafe to leave some elderly individuals alone.
Keep in mind that 3% of the population aged 70 to 74 have dementia. Additionally, Alzheimer’s affects 1 in 9 adults over 75, and almost a quarter of the elderly suffer from it by age 85.
It is also important to note that not only do about a quarter of the elderly age 70 and above require continual supervision, but about 10% of those will begin to have intense mood swings and anger issues resulting from their Alzheimer’s diagnosis. When considering these statistics and understanding that most caregiving comes from an untrained loved one, the concern of caregiver burnout and fatigue becomes important.
Additionally, many individuals are not yet elderly but require caregiving due to other ailments, injuries, and conditions. 48 million people in the United States provide care for individuals over 18. The percentage of caregivers is about 25% of the adult population.
The stress that caregiving places on an individual or family can be intense. Whether you’re already facing burnout or fatigue or aren’t quite there yet, you should plan to attain the support you need. There are programs that include many options, and they aren’t always putting your loved one in a home.
This is for the older population, typically those with more medical needs. It is short-term and can help provide care a couple of days a week or just during a short segment of the day. This allows the caregiver to get a break, run errands, and take care of other tasks that require their attention.
This care is for individuals who wish to remain in their homes but need assistance with regular activities like cooking, bathing, and dressing. Additionally, personal care helps provide companionship to the elderly and medically in need and is more all-encompassing.
This type of care is short- and long-term, aiding the individual with basic chores and errands. The worker also helps to provide companionship while enabling the elderly individual to maintain a certain level of independence.
This type of care is for the elderly and medically in need who feel lonely. They can go to a care facility where they engage in planned social activities and events. Meals and snacks are also provided.
When you enlist the help of services to aid you in caring for your ailing loved one, you help minimize the risk to your own mental and physical well being. Finding support is vital to maintaining a healthy mental state. In addition to these different programs, it may be beneficial to reach out to a mental health professional for encouragement and information on coping mechanisms. This emotional support is vital to caregivers and to older adults as well.
40% of caregivers are emotionally stressed, while 20% claim financial stress (remember, many eventually must quit their jobs to offer full-time care). Another 20% are impacted physically, as the toll on their body from lifting and caring for their loved one can be difficult.
As such, caregivers must remember to take care of themselves while caring for others. In addition to seeking help from mental health professionals, it is also vital that the caregiver seeks social and physical support. By obtaining additional care for your loved one, you can create more time for you to engage in exercise, social events, and personal time. This can often be rejuvenating and vital, especially on more challenging days of care.
It’s important to understand that feeling overwhelmed as a caregiver is common, but that doesn’t mean it has to be permanent. Always reach out for help. Research and find options to help you overcome your trials, and find different programs and resources that can help mitigate the overwhelming caregiver stress that can occur.
MDC Healthcare supports family caregivers with high-quality home care services. We understand the challenges of providing care to a loved one without the right resources. Our highly trained staff works with your loved one and helps them build and implement a care plan that meets their requirements.
Ready to find the assistance you need? Reach out today.
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MDC Healthcare delivers customizable, affordable, and culturally sensitive in-home health services to communities in Georgia.