Caregiver Issues

The family caregiver is defined as a relative (spouse, significant other, parent, child, or other family member) who provides unpaid help to a patient incapable of performing daily living tasks due to advanced age, illness, or disability.

Caregivers provide physical support, for example, assistance with daily living tasks and management of medication and side effects, emotional and spiritual support, and financial assistance. Over the years, researchers have identified many physical, psychological, financial, social, and spiritual repercussions of caregiving. Levels of psychological distress are high in caregivers.

Upon diagnosis of the patient, caregivers may be frightened and upset, feeling helpless and powerless. Health care providers often overlook caregivers’ psychological health in an effort to quickly devise a treatment plan for the patient. As the patient weakens and deteriorates, caregivers face frustration, anger, resentment, anticipatory grief, and depression.

Depression is one of the most frequent conditions of caregivers. Caregivers require psychological help, and support from the health care system in caring for the patient. Often, the patient’s illness and physical or mental deterioration happen over a period of several years, thus prolonging the stressful experience and continuously impacting the caregiver.

Ability to cope with life events, stressors, and unexpected negative situations is a major factor differentiating efficient and non-efficient caregiving. Psychological interventions and educational activities are known to help caregivers realize their situation and prepare for the role. If you are a caregiver, please know, you are not alone and I can help you learn how to protect your health while you are helping your loved ones through their illness. I can help you care for yourself too.