Mission Center: The Episcopal Church: Community

"I Will Praise the Name of God With a Song" by Pat Redding Scanlon, 2009  


Caring for Caregivers

The American Society on Aging has determined that:

  • Nearly one out of every four U.S. households (about 22 million people) provide care to a relative or friend over 50.
  • 40 percent of caregivers are also raising children.
  • 64 percent work either full- or part-time.

On average, caregivers devote four and a half years providing care and spend about 12 hours each week on caregiver duties, according to the National Alliance for Caregiving.

In addition to its demands on a physical and emotional level, caregiving can also create financial stress. The National Center on Women and Aging found that caregivers lose an average of $659,130 over their lifetime in reduced salary and retirement benefits.

How can you cope with the stress of being a caregiver?

  • Be realistic about what you can and can't do.
  • Create a support team.
  • Delegate some responsibilities to family and friends and stay organized about who's doing what.
  • Schedule time to relax and decompress.
  • Make your own health your first priority: eat a balanced diet, get plenty of rest and excercise, and make it a point to see your own doctor for regular check ups.

Caregiving can be the toughest job you'll ever have the honor of doing for someone you love. But be smart about it. There's a reason flight attendants tell us that in case of emergency we need to put on our own oxygen masks before attempting to assist other passengers.

Resources for Caregivers

Aging Parents: A Survival Guide , PDF
This Family Survival Guide from 2006 deals with both crisis situations and planning for long-term caring and covers financial, insurance, legal, medical, psychological, cultural, ethnic, and religious issues (191 pages).

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