Home Health Resources

Family Challenges: Finding Relief and Support in Home Health Care

Family Caregiving Frustrations 

Family members who take upon themselves the role of the nursing their loved one, rather than hiring a home healthcare professional, often find that this family caregiving requires a lot of patient persistence, encouragement, and help. Family caregivers who try to do it all alone can become especially frustrated when they can’t provide adequate care.

The Typical Family Caregiver

According to the National Alliance for Caregiving, the typical family caregiver is a 46 year-old woman spending twenty hours a week taking care of her mother. If you are taking care of a disabled or dependent family member, you may be spending anywhere between several hours to forty hours a week tending to that family member’s needs.

Family Caregiver Stress

This time-consuming labor of love can lead to a great deal of family caregiver stress and burnout, resulting in compromised physical health, poor performance at work, and feelings of depression and isolation. Hiring the help of a professional home care assistant can significantly relieve that burden and allow the family caregiver to keep his or her social well-being.

Family Caregiver Physical Health

One third of family caregivers describe their health as fair or poor. Additionally, family caregivers who are elderly themselves, and who have chronic illnesses and caregiver stress, have a 63% higher chance of dying before their non-caregiving peers, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association.

This poor health is mostly due to the lack sleep, little exercise, and poor nutrition that occurs as time is spent in family caregiving. Sadly, as family caregivers contribute their time and energy to helping another return to health, they lose their own.

Family Caregiver Job Performance

Family caregiving tasks aren’t easily accommodating to employment, be it part or full-time work. In addition to leaving work early or staying late, family caregivers with full-time jobs suffer absenteeism and time off.

Studies have found that more than half of family caregivers “had to go in (to work) late, leave early, or take time off during the day” (The National Alliance for Caregiving). If one’s boss or supervisor doesn’t understand the need for time off, the sense of family caregiver stress only increases.

Family Caregiver Mental Health

The family caregiver also frequently experiences depression, isolation, and social withdrawal. Taking care of another means fewer opportunities for hobbies, fewer opportunities for vacations, sports, clubs, and friends.

As the hours spent in care increase, family caregivers can become more withdrawn and isolated from their friends and other family. Dreadfully, some “61% of ‘intense’ family caregivers (those providing at least 21 hours of care a week) have suffered from depression,” says the National Family Caregivers Association. This means that at least half of all family caregivers are likely depressed!

Caregiver Solutions

Despite all the care and love family caregivers offer, and despite the comfortable home where ideal convalescence is supposed to take place, instead of healing, what results when family caregiver stresses mount is resentment and family tension.
This caregiving stress is counterproductive to physical, social, and mental health — for both patient and caregiver. Family caregivers shouldn’t try doing it all alone. Spending money to hire a professional home care assistant can help lift the burden. Even freeing up a small number of hours each week can have a significant impact on a family caregiver’s sense of well-being.

Home Health Works has been providing home health care to residents in Florida for more than a decade. Our team of home caregivers visit all homes in Florida’s Pasco and Pinellas counties. For more information, call us at 727-442-5612.