Caregiver issues can affect both professional caregivers, who are paid to provide care to individuals in their homes or in a health care setting, and unpaid individuals who provide care to a loved one, friend, or family member. These issues may include stress and isolation, financial stress, and burnout. Those who become stressed or anxious or experience other mental health issues as a result of providing long-term care may find the services of a mental health professional helpful.
Caregiver Stresses and Issues
Caregivers can be divided into two groups. One group is made up of people caring for a loved one or friend who is ill, disabled, or experiencing symptoms of aging. This may be as temporary as caring for a spouse who has had surgery, or the long-term care provided a child born with physical or emotional disabilities. Sometimes the caregiver is middle-aged who not only has children at home but also is caring for an aging parent. This group is often referred to as the “Sandwich Generation.” Taking care of a loved one can take place in their home, the caregiver’s home, an assisted living/long term care facility, or even long distance. The second group consists of caregivers who are paid to provide care in the homes of their patients or in long-term care settings. They can be professionally trained and hired through an agency or can be an acquaintance employed by family members to take care of their loved one. They often take care of one patient at a time and can become very attached to their patient.
Caregivers, whether they are paid or unpaid or are related to a patient or are professionals, may encounter many stresses and pressures in their caregiving work. Stresses and issues caregivers may experience include:
- Anxiety and fear
- Grief and sadness
- Shame and embarrassment
Counseling for Caregivers
Counseling can be beneficial for caregivers who have become isolated, overwhelmed, anxious, depressed or are lacking support from others. Though the work of caregiving requires strength and resilience, without taking care of oneself over time, a caregiver can wear down and become susceptible to mental and emotional distress. Counseling may provide the help and motivation for and take proper care of them.