A ‘caregiver’ which is sometimes referred to as a ‘carer’ is an unpaid or a paid member who takes the primary responsibility of an individual’s social network by providing assistance to those who are mentally or physically disabled, chronically ill, injured or an elderly family member. ‘Care giving‘ is one of the common terms which is used to attend to the needs of old people, disabled and those with mental disorders. Some of the primary duties and responsibilities of a caregiver are discussed below:
Role as a Care giver
Care giving is a complicated task despite the relationship between a caregiver and an individual. The activity gets harder as the recipients get older. More than half of the care givers are of the opinion that their role as a care giver takes a toll on their job as well as their family lives. It is reported that almost every care givers have undergone anxiety and irritability during their role as a care giver. Reports suggest that about 70% of family care givers are facing clinical symptoms of depression which is caused due to feelings of isolation and loneliness associated with the care giving experience.
Causes of Care giver isolation and loneliness
Most of the care givers feel a sense of isolation and loneliness due to withdrawal from previous habits and life styles. Some care givers find themselves trapped at home, being neglected by their friends and family members and lacking support from other care givers who are facing a similar situation. This could lead to withdrawal from various social activities and relationships that they had previously indulged in.
Meanwhile, there are few care givers who are literally facing isolation. Like for example, a spouse assisting their partner round-the-clock may feel unable to leave their care recipient. As a result, their time for leisure activities and personal rejuvenation is reduced to a great extent since they concentrate only on their care recipient. They are engaged in various activities like managing medications, frequent doctor visits and weekly runs to grocery store.
Aftermath of Caregiver isolation
A care giver may face physical side effects as a result of onset of depression. It could lead to complications like weight gain, increase in blood pressure caused by stress, diabetes, stroke and premature death.
Isolation and loneliness is a serious issue faced by most of the care givers to certain degree during their role as a care giver. However, they need not hesitate to find more support during their journey.