Updated: May 11
10% of the adult population in Ireland are carers. Carers are those that regularly provide unpaid personal help to a family or friend with a long term illness, health problem or disability. On average, these carers are providing about 45 hours of work per week. Many carers report having health issues of back pain and anxiety disorders due to their caring responsibilities. In this post, the importance of seeking support as a caregiver will be covered as well as resources available to support caregivers.
Importance of seeking support as a caregiver
In Patient Safety and Quality: An Evidence-Based Handbook for Nurses, it is expressed there is a serious gap in healthcare for caregivers due to the lack of attention provided to them by healthcare professionals. Caregivers are a patient themselves due to the demand of their work putting them at risk for serious physical and mental health concerns. Attempting to balance caregiving responsibilities along with work, family and leisure activities is very difficult and can lead to caregivers feeling a negative response to their duties of caregiving. Having a negative response can increase the sense of burden, which in turn has a direct impact on one's health. Being a caregiver not only affects those being cared for but also can have a range of health consequences to the caregivers. It is important to recognise this and seek out help and support. Your health is also a priority!
Resources to support caregivers
There are many unknowns when individuals begin to care for another. It takes time and, in many cases, training whether it be from a health professional or on the job training. There are many resources you should consider to help in providing care to your loved ones in addition to providing care for yourself.
Care Alliance is an Irish organisation that provides information and support to caregivers.
Respite care is a short term residential care service that can allow the carer to take a break from their duties. To learn more about respite services in your area, contact your primary care provider or local health office.
There are also training courses that provide education on the needs of those you are caring for. Having this increased knowledge can help to reduce anxieties and provide you with tools to care for your loved ones as effectively and as safely as possible. You can learn more from local health offices as well as support organisations.
Local carer groups are a great way to receive support from others. Through Family Carers Ireland you can find a local support group.
Each of these resources offers even more information and support. Carers can be very selfless and are wonderful individuals in our community. It is crucial as a caregiver to not forget about your health and wellbeing. You deserve support, a balanced healthy lifestyle and time to relax.