May 6, 2022
Solo caregiving is a complicated job. Creating a caregiving village can make it easier. Over 54 million people across the U.S. are unpaid caregivers. They might provide care for a spouse or partner, child, friend, or parent. They might also be providing that care by themselves - a solo caregiver. One person caring for another is often a full time job, especially if there’s a serious illness or terminal diagnosis. So many factors come into play: health issues of the caregiver, physical demands of the seriously ill person, financial demands, additional responsibilities or a full time paying job, around the clock duties, isolation, or safety concerns. Sometimes caregivers need to manage the care of more than one person. Solo caregiving has both pros and cons. As a solo caregiver, you become an expert in the patient, knowing routines, needs, history, and the details of care. Information is easier to manage, too, because it only flows to one person. Being a solo caregiver can also provide great meaning and purpose. While there are some positive qualities to solo caregiving, there are also drawbacks. Caregiver burnout, information overload, and isolation can stress the caregiving situation. There are ways to make it easier. Creating a caregiving village can be a huge help. Enlisting the assistance of friends, faith community members, and relatives and friends who are out of town and in-person can dilate the caregiving responsibilities. Providing support if someone lives out of town - remote caregiving - can be helpful with tasks like ordering groceries or keeping the family group informed about current events or changes in the patient’s condition. Dividing the duties reduces the burden on the primary caregiver. You can check out devices or app that available for help with managing a caregiving village - Caregiven, the GrandPad, Caring Bridge, physician patient portals, and CareStory.
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