Caring for the Caregivers
Real-life tips on how to avoid caregiver burnout
Over the last week, we have interviewed several caregivers to better understand some of the struggles they face. Caregivers are people that care for people with disabilities or ailing people; the care recipient is usually a child, spouse, or elder parent. The statistics are a bit overwhelming. There are 44 million people who are caregivers, and this number is growing as many in the US age and get older. Caregivers are often stressed for a couple of key reasons:
- They often did not choose to be in the situation they are in.
- Often times the situation feels overwhelming.
For these reasons, and several others, approximately 70% of caregivers struggle with some type of depression or emotional distress. The demands do not allow them to leave the house and take care of themselves. Therapy or a support group can be helpful if the person can access them, but many caregivers do not feel like these are real options for them.
Andrea is someone I now count as a good friend. She allowed us to interview her to better understand some of the struggles she faced. She shared this write up with us to provide insight.
"My name is Andrea. I have a child with down syndrome who is 11 years old now. We've both come along way, but there was a time in my life when I really could've used a listening ear. At five months old my son had heart surgery. He was hooked up to an oxygen tube 24/7, so we couldn't leave the house. I didn't know how to take care of a baby, let alone one with so many needs and I surely didn't know enough about Down sundrome. I went to our local support group meetings eventually. They were great, but I went away with only a couple of phone numbers of people who I would never call in the middle of the night and never when I was feeling my lowest. I was too proud. BUT, I did want to connect to someone and 7 cups of tea could be the answer. Did I need a trained psychologist? No, I just needed someone who had been in my shoes to tell me everything would be ok. Now, I'd love to be able to help someone else through those hard times when it seems you're the only person on earth.
Andrea's statement is really profound. She allows us to see the world through her eyes. I've shared this statement with several other caregivers and they all identify with her perspective.
We've created 7 Cups of Tea to help caregivers like Andrea. If you are a caregiver and are interested in listening to other people that might be struggling with some challenges that you have overcome, then please let us know. We are looking for world class listeners to help support caregivers who are struggling and going through a hard time. You can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org.