Caring for a sick person entails challenges, and caregivers suffer both physical and emotional burdens.
Professional and family caregivers are some of the most beautiful people you will ever encounter in this lifetime. They are generally physically fit, always ready, highly equipped, and most of all, they are passionately committed to taking care of their patients, whether they are strangers or loved ones. Most caregivers spend more than 8 hours a day for five to six days a week, at the very least providing care to a loved one. Family caregivers are known to spend on average 12-15 hours a day, with no rest days, attending to their loved ones. This is nothing short of an extraordinary effort to provide care and comfort to another person. And while these traits are all admirable, caregivers are not invincible. In fact, they are most vulnerable to mental and emotional distresses. Physically, they are subject to becoming overworked, fatigue, and even mental breakdowns. Today, we will take a closer look at some of the emotional challenges encountered by caregivers in trying to provide comfort and support to other people.
Caregiver Stress and Emotional Issues
Just as many of us, caregivers are also torn between wanting to do their jobs and, on some days consider it an ordeal. Caregivers love their jobs and love caring for others, but there are times when they feel that they’d rather be somewhere else.
Dealing with a sick person is never easy. Dealing with uncooperative or combative patients can be difficult. Caregivers often have to deal with these situations, and I’d be surprised to see a caregiver who hasn’t “lost it” or got frustrated with his or her patient and with himself.
This might be another expression of frustration. Still, the physical and mental strain can take atoll on us, and crankiness is something that most caregivers often experience, whether you are a professional or a family caregiver.
While most caregivers are trained to be professional, anxiety will always be a part of every caregiver’s journey. There is sickness, uncertainty, and stress, so it’s impossible not to be anxious.
They can be separate items, but long-term boredom is often associated with depression. For caregivers who spent many hours in a facility or at home, depression easily grows on them.
Caregivers must be prepared to perform unpleasant tasks such as helping a patient bathe, changing diapers, cleaning private body parts, and so on. But because of stress, they begin to feel disgusted about performing these tasks.
This is a separate item from the one above. Embarrassment deals more with the patient’s behavior and how they tend to embarrass you in public or in front of other people. Some patients can be very difficult, and they tend to affect us as well.
This is can also be anxiety. Taking care of another person is not just a job or a task. It is a responsibility and a crucial one at that. Often, caregivers question their capacity and competence, and this is where the fear is mostly based.
It is one universal feeling. As a patient slowly declines or succumbs to his or her illness, caregivers are the front-row witnesses. And this is never easy at all. Many caregivers suffer ambiguous and even anticipatory grief. They mourn even before the patient expires.
We all feel guilt, but for caregivers, guilt is not singular. They come in many forms, degrees, and expression. Whatever the guilt is, it takes a heavy toll on every caregiver, especially those who are so attached to their patient or loved one.
Comparing our job to others or even to our siblings and friends is not at all uncommon. Jealousy and resentment will always be there if you entertain the thought. However, this occurs very often for caregivers, and sometimes they need support and affirmation in dealing with this.
This is similar to crankiness or irritability. Sometimes we forget that patients have already lost many aspects of their normal lives. They do not have the same capacity or energy as normal human beings, resulting in them slow to get up or unable to do the thing expected of a normal healthy person. This is where our impatience is rooted.
Lack of Appreciation.
No one wants to be dependent on others. We all have our pride and ego. And indeed, many patients do not like to be treated as patients. Hence, many of them are difficult and feel that they do not need help. This lack of appreciation can also take a toll on our caregivers.
It is not only patients that suffer losses. Caregivers suffer many types of losses. Loss of control, loss of future, loss of self-esteem, loss of dignity, loss of relationships, loss of opportunities, and loss of oneself are just some of the many things a caregiver has to endure and overcome.
Being in the ailing and the terminal company for many hours tends to isolate you from the outside world. As you invest more time with your patients, caregivers may feel a certain degree of loneliness. Caregivers are not immune to this no matter how much they trained or have gotten used to it. Eventually, they will feel this emptiness sooner or later.
Fatigue is real in the physical, mental, and also in the emotional aspect. Caregivers rarely get enough sleep and rest. They barely get respite from their grim situation. Thus, most caregivers are tired, suffering from fatigue, mental and emotional exhaustion. If these symptoms these are not attended to, it may result in severe breakdown or sickness.
Taking Care of Our Caregiver’s Health
Caregivers play a very vital role in the health of our people. This also means that their health and welfare are as important as those they provide comfort and care. If most of the caregivers in this country, or any place in the world for that matter, are sick, stressed, and dealing with multitudes of issues, how can we expect them to perform efficiently and admirably. Now, more than ever, we must revisit the state of our caregiver’s mental health and welfare. We must ensure that they are given enough rest, respite, proper compensation, and appreciation for the essential work they do daily. Every caregiver is a wonderful person, and the next time you meet one, please show them respect and gratitude.