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Fact: It’s hard to be a family caregiver.

The job of caring for an aging loved one can be physically strenuous and emotionally taxing. You get a front-row seat for watching your loved one’s health deteriorate. You get caught in the crossfire of heated family politics. And other family members simply don’t understand what the job entails!

There are many false beliefs caregivers have, whether self-imposed or told to them by outsiders. You may have begun to accept these myths about caregiving as facts. This article is here to debunk those myths and give you the freedom to care for your senior family member with pride and the right attitude. You can approach caregiving with positivity.

Myth #1: I can control and fix my loved one’s health.

You didn’t cause this. You can’t control it. You can’t fix it. Believing that you can control and fix the situation will only cause you stress and guilt.

Reality check:

“I did not cause this situation and I can’t fix it. I’m doing the best I can with the tools that I have at my disposal.”

Myth #2: It’s not necessary for me to take breaks.

You need and deserve to take breaks sometimes. Working as a caregiver nonstop will tire you out and you will be a less effective caregiver. For your sake, and for the sake of your loved one, schedule an off day once a month. Recruit a family member to take over your responsibilities for that day and go take care of yourself. You’ll come back refreshed and ready to care for your senior family member with renewed energy.

Reality check:

“I deserve to take a break. It will help both me and my loved one.”

Myth #3: I can do everything on my own.

You are just one person! You are hardworking, dedicated, and relentlessly caring. But you can’t handle all the responsibilities involved in caregiving on your own without falling apart.

Involve family members and delegate tasks that others can accomplish just as well as you could. Check out this other article by Passion to Care, 10 Tips to Successfully Share Caregiving Responsibilities Among Family.

Reality check:

“It’s okay to need help and to ask for it.”

Myth #4: If I were a better caregiver my loved one’s health would not be declining.

As a dedicated caregiver, this thought might have crossed your mind. If only I would find a better doctor for my aging mother, her health would improve. If only I would cook more nutritious meals for my grandfather, he would be in much better condition.

There are things that no amount of care can stop or reverse. You are not responsible for your loved one’s state of health. Try not to be too hard on yourself. You’re doing your best as a caregiver. Try to make sure the senior you care for is as happy and comfortable as possible. After that, there’s not much else you can do for them.

Reality check:

“I’m not responsible for my loved one’s health. I’m doing my best to care for them, and that’s what matters.”

Myth #5: Caregiving consists only of routine tasks.

Contrary to popular belief, most caregivers do a lot more than drive their loved one’s to appointments or wash their dishes.

According to the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), almost half of family caregivers deal with complex and strenuous tasks. They often

● Manage their loved one’s finances and help pay for expenses
● Assist with medical care and medications
● Provide emotional support
● Help their loved one bathe, dress, and get to the toilet
● Provide round-the-clock supervision
● Care for wounds
● Administer injections
● Operate medical equipment

You have a lot on your shoulders and you’re making the greatest difference in your aging loved one’s quality of life. Don’t let anyone minimize the effort you are expending for your family member!

Reality check:

“I’m working hard and making a difference. I don’t need others to realize how hard I’m working for it to be rewarding.”

Myth #6: Caregiving is just a lot of hard work.

Although caregiving is difficult at times, there are times when it’s one of the most rewarding jobs in the world. Caregiving has been shown to increase feel-good hormones!

You have the opportunity to bond with a family member from a different generation. Learn about your loved one’s childhood, discover the family tree, and glean valuable life lessons from someone with years of experience.

You can get the ultimate satisfaction knowing that you’re giving support to another human being (especially if this is a parent who cared for you when you were young).

Reality check:

“I have an incredible opportunity for bonding with and giving back to my loved one. Yes, it’s hard, but it offers rich rewards.”

Myth #7: Caregiving won’t cost me anything.

By the time you reach 65 years old, average healthcare costs are $11.3K per person, per year in the United States, according to Registered Nursing. This is almost triple the average cost of healthcare when you’re in your 20s and 30s! These bills are footed by family members who step up to care for their aging loved ones.

In addition to paying the bills (healthcare, utilities, groceries, etc) family caregivers provide unpaid care that saves our nation billions of dollars each year. Heroically, they do so at the expense of their own financial well-being. Many caregivers choose to quit their jobs or cut back on hours in order to be available to care for their senior relative.

If you live with the family member you’re caring for and they meet the Georgia Medicaid requirements for Structured Family Caregiving (SFC), you may qualify for Passion to Care’s SFC program! This helpful program gives a family caregiver:

● A daily tax-free financial stipend paid weekly
● Ongoing support from a professional health coach
● Access to our secure mobile app for ongoing help and communication

Not sure if you’re eligible for SFC? Contact us and we’ll help you through the process of determining your eligibility.

Speak to professionals about the cost of senior healthcare before you assume responsibility for their care. Speak to the rest of your family. You are not solely responsible for the high costs.

Reality check:

“I don’t need to pay for my loved one’s care on my own. My family can help out and share the costs.”

Myth #8: I won’t get burnt out.

Burnout can happen to anyone. Make sure to

● Exercise regularly
● Eat well
● Sleep well
● Delegate jobs to other family members or professionals
● Look out for sign of burnout (some signs: anger or annoyance, exhaustion, over eating or loss of appetite, loss of interest in personal goals, wanting to run away)

Reality check:

“I’m only human. I need to care for myself if I want to continue caring for my loved one.”

Myth #9: My needs are less important than my loved one’s needs.

False! Caregivers need and deserve care, too.

When the senior family member in your care is facing a health challenge, it can easily feel like their needs take precedence over your own needs.

Yet your needs are no less important than the senior’s. Over time, caregiving takes a toll on the health of caregivers who ignore their own health. Take care of yourself so you can take care of your senior loved one.

Want Help Navigating Family Caregiving?

We treat each client to a rare combination of old-school care and next-generation technologies. Whether covered by insurance, Medicaid, or personal funds, our members enjoy all the comforts, dignities, and wellness advances they deserve.

Contact us and we’ll provide you with the family caregiving support you need.