Providing care for an ill parent or spouse is something that we often don’t ever plan for. It’s easy to assume that you’ll never be the caregiver for a loved one in your life. However, recent research by University of Rhode Island’s Schmidt Labor Research Center, found that “1 in 3 workers currently face elder care responsibilities, and that figure is growing, with 45 percent of workers anticipating having elder care responsibilities in the next five years.”
With so many of us likely to handle elder care responsibilities in the future, we wanted to know what it was like to look after an ill parent or spouse.
While caring for your ill parent or spouse, sacrifices often must be made in order to ensure they receive the level of care they need. As Nancy Snyderman, M.D., explained to AARP, “Caregivers tend to patients an average of 20 hours each week, but many would agree that it often feels like more. Like me, about half are also balancing that responsibility with a full-time job.”
In an interview with HuffingtonPost, Gianfranco Fiorio described the experience of acting as a caregiver for his mother, who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease as “challenging.” Firoio offered other caregivers this piece of advice that is crucial for your success as a caregiver, as well as your own mental and physical health: “The one thing I’ve learned is to ask for help. It’s hard to do by yourself. What I had to do was bring in another caregiver and specialists to help me.”
With so much on the plates of caregivers, outside help – whether in the form of other family members, trained home caregivers, or even moving your loved one into an assisted living facility – can be hugely beneficial to both caregiver and care receiver.
While caring for a loved one can be difficult, Glenn Harris told HuffingtonPost of caring for his father with Alzheimer’s, “I’ve learned that there just doesn’t seem to be any greater honor than to take care of the one who gave me life.”
Are you currently caring for an ill parent or spouse? What challenges have you faced? Share your experience with us in the comments!