Am I a Caregiver?

“I didn’t even know I was a carer, even though I do it 24/7.” That’s how one Tweet put it, prompted by a presentation at the International Association of Gerontology and Geriatrics conference. The presentation was entitled, “Coming Out as a Caregiver,” and the sentiment is far from rare.

Taking care of a parent, spouse, sibling, or other loved one may seem natural. Many take on the role out of love or a sense of duty, and if asked might say they are simply being a good son or daughter, or doing the right thing. This means that many people are overlooking the significance of their care work as being work. So when does helping out Dad become being his carer or caregiver, and why does it matter?

If the person you are helping begins to experience a decline in health, you may pile on increased responsibilities, and notice your relationship with that person beginning to evolve. Even though you may have a career or other commitments, caring can easily become a job of its own with expenses of its own, and acknowledging your role as a carer can help you to manage your new balancing act.

NextAvenue columnist Sherri Snelling explained: “Caregiving means caring for both your loved one and yourself, so the health and well-being of two people are at stake when caregivers do not self-identify… When you don’t think of yourself as a caregiver, you may fail to take advantage of a range of support services available to help you manage the role. By speaking up and saying ‘I’m a caregiver’ you will find resources that can help you care for your loved one. You will also learn about the pitfalls of caregiving, such as burnout, and what steps you can take to bring balance and self-care into your life.”

Read the entire article, “Are You a Caregiver or Just a Good Child?” at NextAvenue.

Check out our Elder Care Whiteboard Videos for more information on care and estate planning such as how to pay for long-term care costs.  For Estate Planning, Special Needs Planning, Elder Law, Veterans Benefits, Real Estate, and Business Planning needs contact Glenn R. Matecun by calling (517) 548-7400 in Livingston County and (586) 751-0779 in Macomb County.

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