Are you a caregiver?
Being there for a loved one isn’t even a question for many people—it’s simply what they do out of love. That’s why many people don’t self-identify as a “caregiver.” If you do any of the following, you deserve to be recognized as a caregiver:
- Provide transportation to medical appointments
- Prepare meals and perform housekeeping duties
- Run errands such as grocery shopping
- Communicate with health care providers
- Advocate on a loved one’s behalf
- Help with daily tasks such as bathing and getting dressed
Did you know?
About 41 million family caregivers provide 34 billion hours of care annually? That care would cost nearly $470 billion a year if purchased.
Unpaid caregiving is common in North Dakota
One out of every five people in North Dakota needs additional care outside the health care system. For each of the five, there is at least one family member or friend providing some level of support. If you find yourself in that group, you are not alone.
- The number of caregivers increased from 43.5 million in 2015 to 53 million in 2020.
- 58% of caregivers are women.
- Almost one-third of caregivers provide care at least 20 hours a week.
- About 1 in 3 adults in the US provides care to other adults as informal caregivers.
- 1 in 6 non-caregivers expects to become a caregiver within 2 years.
- Nearly 1 in 5 caregivers report fair or poor health.
- Almost 2 in 5 caregivers have at least 2 chronic diseases.
- Nearly 2 in 10 caregivers had to stop working.
The emotional toll of caring for a loved one can easily lead to physical and mental exhaustion. This is called caregiver burnout, also known as caregiver fatigue. Caregiver burnout can happen to anyone who is providing care for another person, whether it’s hands-on care, occasional care or even care from a distance.
Burnout can be easily misunderstood as simply feeling overly tired or exhausted. However, while being tired can often be resolved by taking a break or getting more sleep, burnout is less easily relieved. Individuals who experience caregiver burnout often face all-encompassing fatigue that impacts multiple areas of their lives. Here are some common symptoms of caregiver burnout. If you notice yourself experiencing any of these common symptoms of burnout, it might be time to lighten your load:
- A short temper
- Emotional outbursts
- Sleeping problems
- Significant weight change
- Physical ailments
- Social isolation
There is help
It has been said that it’s not always the load that brings you down—it’s the way you carry it. Here are some tips to help ease the stress of caregiving:
- Ask for help and accept help when it’s offered.
- Give yourself grace—remember you’re doing the best you can.
- Prioritize, make lists and set daily routines.
- Take advantage of caregiving resources in your community.
- Stay connected with friends and family.
- Take care of your own mental and physical health.
Recognize and celebrate caregivers
“Caregiver” is a powerful title—one that should be embraced and carried with pride. Every day, caregivers help loved ones with day-to-day tasks and are a source of emotional support. Let’s take time together to recognize caregivers and the immeasurable value they provide.
Support the caregivers in your life
If you have a caregiver in your life, things such as helping with errands or cooking them a meal go a long way toward lightening their load. Sometimes, however, emotional support is the most powerful gift you can give. A simple check-in to ask how they are lets them know they are cared about too.
Check out the caregiver support section of our website to find more resources and caregiver stories.