Becoming a caregiver is a selfless, but sometimes, unexpected role. While the National Academy of Sciences estimates that the largest percentage of caregivers, around 25 percent, are between the ages of 45 and 54, approximately 15 percent of caregivers are between 20 and 44 years old.
Caregivers within this age range are often exposed to the overwhelming responsibilities that come with being a caregiver. Oftentimes, they take on this role without support or resources to turn to for guidance. To help you navigate the unique challenges you may face as an unexpected caregiver, let us share some information and caregiver resources with you.
First, it is important to acknowledge that despite caring for a loved one as your new full-time profession, caregivers sometimes require support too. Joining a community support group, either online or in-person, can be highly beneficial for your mental well-being. Connecting with others who share similar challenges can provide you an outlet to vent your frustrations, receive advice, and also a network of people to celebrate small accomplishments with. Often, unexpected caregivers are left with few options but to put their own lives on hold to care for their ailing loved one. This can be a very isolating position to be in and having a group of people there to support you when you need it, can be important for your peace of mind.
We also encourage you to take care of your physical well-being. Sleepless nights, chronic stress, and repetitive lifting of your loved one can cause injuries to your body. Sometimes, caring so much for one person can result in you spending less time caring for yourself. Try to eat a balanced diet and exercise at least a few times per week to take care of your physical health as well. This, in turn, can help you be a better caregiver for your loved one.
Finally, remember that respite care is an option to consider for particularly challenging days. Taking your loved one to this temporary care facility for a few hours or a few days per week can provide you with some much-needed down time or an extra few hours to complete household tasks. You can relax for a while knowing that your loved one is well taken care of.
Above all, do not hesitate to lean on loved ones for support. You may also reach out to our office if you need help getting connected with support groups or other resources. If you have further questions on this or any elder law topic, please do not wait to reach out to us.