Burnt Out and Need a Break?

Heather Smith - Monday, February 06, 2012

In 2009, the “estimated economic value” of the unpaid contributions of family caregivers was a staggering $450 billion according to Valuing the Invaluable: 2011 Update, The Growing Contributions and Costs of Family Caregiving, a recent report from the AARP Public Policy Institute. This $450 billion figure represents a 20% increase over 2007’s $375 billion estimate. Reasons for this increase include:

  • 23% rise in the number of caregivers
  • 9% increase in the number of hours spent on care
  • $1-per-hour hike in the “wage” used to determine the value unpaid caregivers deliver

“Unpaid family caregivers are shouldering a majority of the burden of long-term-care in the U.S,” Tergesen concludes. With caregiver stress and even burnout being common concerns. Caregivers’ fatigue can cause serious patient safety concerns. What can be done to help families? Here are 3 ways you can help a family caregiver you know:

  • Organization! This is the one the best ways to most successfully mobilize the support that every family caregiver should have. Call a family meeting, set up and manage a schedule that everybody has access to. People are willing to pitch in, but it’s easier to commit if it is clear what they are committing to (and how often).
  • Communication! Family caregivers should have a means of remaining in communicationbecause, of course, this benefits the care recipient, but open communication promotes an environment in which family caregivers can be honest about how they’re feeling (mentally, physically, emotionally and otherwise). Remember: if the care recipient is completely reliant on the family caregivers, it is imperative that the family caregivers are well.
  • Break! One of the greatest benefits of mobilizing a “team” of family caregivers who can pitch in is the ability to take a break when necessary. Take whatever time you can for yourself to reduce the risk of illness and burnout.

CRI is always there to give the family caregivers their much-needed break. Don't hestitate to contact CRI for more information today call 814-838-7222 or visit www.crinet.org for more information.  Help is just around the corner.  Call today!




[ back to top ]