There are more family caregivers in the United States than in any time in history. More than 65 million Americans are providing caregiver assistance for family members with disabilities and/or chronic illness. Many older adults now find themselves dependent on family members for personal care and financial support. For the first time in generations, the number of seniors living with their adult children is rising.
Debbie is experienced in providing individual counseling to family caregivers with a focus on baby boomers. The Sandwich Generation is a term used to describe men and women in their forties to sixties with both aging parents and children to care for - it is one of the fastest growing populations. These are individuals who find themselves stuck in the middle - trying to juggle a hectic schedule caring for aging parents experiencing a decline in health, keeping up with adult children as they struggle to make it on their own and managing the financial and emotional stressors that are due to these circumstances. It is challenging to have a full-time job, raise a family, care for parents with medical complications, maintain a healthy intimate relationship, and have time for stress management. If this is your situation, you may benefit from counseling.
Maybe your are caring for a reluctant senior, your spouse, or someone with dementia or Alzheimer's disease. Each of these scenarios can also cause great stress to the caregiver. Caregiving can be a rewarding experience knowing your are helping someone else, but it also presents emotional challenges. These emotions combined with physical fatigue can lead to “caregiver stress" or burnout.” Some of the signs include:
- Changes in sleep or eating patterns - Feeling trapped - Being moody and irritable - Rough handling of the person in your care
It is normal for caregivers to feel anger, guilt, depression, loneliness, anxiety and fatigue. If you don't take care of yourself, it will be difficult to take care of someone else. Often, caregivers wait too long before acknowledging their own exhaustion.
"Be kind for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle." Plato