By Jane Malkoff MSN RN NP
There are only four kinds of people in the world. Those who have been care givers. Those who are currently care givers. Those who will be care givers, and those who will need a care giver.” ― Rosalyn Carter
34 million Americans provided unpaid care giving to an adult age 50 or older in the last 12 months. [National Alliance for Care giving and AARP]
At $470 billion in 2013, unpaid care giving exceeded paid home care and total Medicaid spending, and nearly matched the sales of Wal-Mart ($477 billion). [AARP Public Policy Institute]
Studies suggests that being a care giver who is experiencing mental or emotional strain is an independent risk factor for mortality among elderly spousal care givers. Care givers who report strain associated with care giving are more likely to die than non-care giving controls.
Care giver wellness may rest on these two principles;
- We Can Do Anything, But Not Everything
- Sometimes Asking for Help is The Most Meaningful Example of Self-reliance
Resources to Consider:
Adult Day Programs
Respite Care Programs
Yes, care givers can take care of themselves, be well and not be isolated. Be fearless and take steps to support yourself or a care giver you know. We absolutely can be fearless as we face the reality of Rosalyn Carter’s quote (above). Remember, fearlessness is not the absence of fear but the bravery to do what is needed anyway.