Who is a caregiver?

By Jonathan Acton - jonathan.acton@homeinstead.ie

“In this life we cannot do great things. We can only do small things with great love.” Mother Teresa

Who is a caregiver?

A caregiver is anyone who provides assistance to another person so that person can maintain an independent lifestyle. Family caregivers, friends and neighbours are the backbone of Ireland’s long-term care system.

For many people, caregiving isn’t a job or a duty. It is doing what is right for a loved one.

Caregiving can be an unspoken promise that so many of us make in our relationships, to be there for our loved ones when they need us. Caregiving can evolve slowly, over a period of time or suddenly, in the case of an accident or illness. Depending on the specific need caregiving can include a great deal of activities including:

• Providing round the clock care or supervision

• Listening, talking and providing emotional support

• Supervising others who give direct care

• Shopping for someone else

• Travelling to and from the cared for person’s home

• Maintaining two homes

• Providing social activity

• Supervising medication

• Arranging healthcare

The following testimonial shows how one family caregiver was showing signs of stress: “I have been looking after my mother for the last four years. In the beginning, I would come over every morning and get her out of bed, wash her and prepare her breakfast.

“I would also do some light house keeping and prepare her lunch. In the afternoon, I would go to the shops to buy groceries if needed and then go back to her around six and prepare dinner and then put her to bed at around 9.30pm.

“I really enjoyed caring for my mother but after a while, I was getting headaches, not sleeping and feeling isolated. I realised that it was all becoming physically and emotionally too much for me.” – Nancy.

You are not alone

It is important that a family caregiver realises that she or he is not alone. Getting support will help reduce caregiver stress, and the associated physical and emotional risks of ongoing stress. Most family caregivers struggle to balance care for an ageing parent or relative with other major responsibilities, including jobs and caring for children.

This often means that there is little time to care for themselves, which can result in poor health and high levels of stress.

In fact, according to a Home Instead Senior Care survey, 55% of the family caregivers who utilise their professional caregiving services appear to have significant lower levels of stress.

We at Home Instead Midlands are here to help! Contact us to arrange a no obligation care consultation.

Home Instead, Marlinstown Office Park, Mullingar - 044 9385260