Caregivers: Because you need support, too! (SC14Ignite recap)June 30, 2014
For those of you who wanted a refresher on the Survivor Conference 2014 caregivers workshop, or for those of you who couldn’t be there, here are some notes to keep in your back pocket.
You are NOT alone:
- “In 2012, eight million Canadians, or 28 per cent of the population aged 15 and over, provided care to family members or friends with a long-term health condition, a disability or problems associated with aging.”
- Eleven per cent of caregiving is related to cancer (other common causes: aging – 28 per cent, cardio-vascular disease – 9 per cent, mental illness 7 – per cent, Alzheimer’s disease and dementia – 6 per cent).
- There are psychological consequences to taking care of a loved one.
- There are health consequences.
- There are financial and professional consequences
Source Statistics Canada- September 2013
- Eighty-nine per cent of the caregiving activities lasted for at least one year or longer.
- Twenty-eight per cent of caregivers are “sandwiched” between caregiving and child rearing.
- Twenty-eight per cent found providing care somewhat or very stressful.
- Nineteen per cent indicate that their physical and emotional health suffered in the last 12 months as a result of caregiving responsibilities.
Source Statistics Canada- Catalogue no. 89-652 – No. 001
Please note it is also observed that the more hours you care for someone who is sick, the more impact it can have on the emotional health.
Common symptoms we see in caregivers:
- Worried or anxious
- Short-tempered or irritable
- Disturbed sleep
There’s Good Stuff Too!
Benefits of Caregiving
- Finding Meaning & Purpose
- Personal growth and satisfaction
Sanjo, M., Morita, T., Miyashita, M., Shiozaki, M., Sato, K., Hirai, K., et al. (2009). Caregiving Consequences Inventory: a measure for evaluating caregiving consequences from the bereaved family member’s perspective. Psycho-Oncology, 18(6), 657-666.
How to find the balance?
- Accept you may need help at times.
- Ask for help.
- Accept help when offered.
- Communicate (with your loved one and with others around you).
- Connect with peers (i.e., other caregivers in the community)
- Don’t lose sight of your needs. The only way to be able to be present for others we love is to love ourselves and take care of ourselves.
- Baby steps: You don’t have to go to extremes to take care of you. Taking 10 minutes to do something you like can make a difference.
Keep in mind:
- The pressure to be perfect. Desire to understand the other person’s need, be there in the right way, say the right thing, keep being productive at work, take care of relationships with friends. It can be a bit much to juggle all of this at the same time and expect to never drop a ball.
- The expectations (yours and those of others).
- The demand vs capacity: You have your limits and not listening to them can lead to you getting sick or too exhausted to be present in the way you want to be.
- Forgiveness (towards yourself).
- Tolerance (towards yourself, others, your loved one).
- Anger: It is okay to be angry. Find a safe space to express your anger towards the situation, your fears, and the impact the situation has on you, your family, your dreams, etc.
- Acceptance and respect: Allowing for your emotions to be expressed can help find some acceptance of the situation. Respecting your needs and those of your loved one can also help reduce the frustrations and help people offer you what you need.
- YACC alumni Supporters Group on Facebook