12 Dec The Importance of Caring for Caregivers
Being a caregiver, or carer, can be both rewarding and exhausting. While many people feel strongly about providing care for their loved ones after an accident or catastrophic injury, the responsibilities associated with the job can feel overwhelming.
Getting the Right Support
In Canada, there are 8.1 million people serving as caregivers, representing $25 billion in unpaid labour. 6.1 million of these carers are balancing a career with their caregiving duties and together, they spent $12.6 million on caring-related expenses.
A carer has a lot on their plate. In addition to managing their own lives, they are responsible for tending to the often complicated needs of a loved one. Following a car crash, slip and fall, or other serious accident, a person may suffer from injuries that prevent them from living their lives as they once did. Whether the decision to act as a carer for a loved one is out of choice or necessity, the implications are serious and potentially life-changing.
The support available to carers varies and may be difficult to access. Some communities offer resources to caregivers such as groups, educational programs, and wellness initiatives. In certain cases, a carer may be eligible for a temporary form of financial assistance from the federal government to help them care for a family member.
The Complicated Nature of Practicing Self-Care
When it comes to caring for oneself while devoting so much time and energy to another person, the concept of self-care may be easier said than done. With that being said, the importance of a carer prioritizing their own health and wellness cannot be understated. Left unsupported, carers may be susceptible to depression, anxiety, sleep disorders, or other mental or physical health issues.
Some ways to help a carer get the help that they need might include:
- Exploring temporary respite care options
- Volunteering to assist with caregiving duties so that the primary carer can take time for themselves
- Helping with the organization of medical, legal, and insurance-related documents
- Offering to assist with other aspects of the carer’s life such as child care, pet-sitting, shopping, and meal preparation
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Compassion Fatigue: An Insider’s Perspective