November 14th, 2018 | BY: Allegra Chaney

Challenges Faced by Caregivers

Dear Allegra,

I am a nursing student at a local university. As I get closer to graduation, I am exploring my options for the future. Since I was a high school freshman, I’ve been a volunteer at an assisted living community. It’s something I truly enjoy.

As I prepare for graduation, I’m contemplating a career in either home care or senior living. While my volunteer work has helped me gain insight about senior living, I’m less familiar with challenges faced by caregivers at home.

I’d like to better understand caregiver challenges so I can make a good decision.

Can you share the most common struggles family caregivers face? I know your insight as an experienced caregiver will be helpful.

In appreciation,

Andrew

Understanding Caregiver Challenges

Dear Andrew,

Congratulations on your upcoming graduation! I’m sure it is an exciting time for you, and it sounds like you are taking a very thoughtful approach to deciding your next move.

Home care is a very fulfilling industry. You bring care and support to people in the place they most want to be: home. While family caregivers play an important role, nurses are vital too.

A few of the most common caregiver challenges include:

  • Fatigue, insomnia, and other sleep problems
  • Fear, anxiety, and uncertainty about the future
  • Concerns about meeting a senior’s nutritional needs
  • Uncertainty about their caregiving skills
  • Problems coping with an overwhelming schedule
  • Financial stress sometimes related to cutting back on a work schedule
  • Trouble identifying new health issues in their family member
  • Worries about safety, especially if the older adult has dementia

Home care nurses, aides, and other team members can help alleviate these challenges.

Nurses who choose to work in the home care or home health fields often develop strong bonds not only with the patient, but also the family. Loved ones count on the nurse to help them manage a senior’s chronic illness and to teach them how to be better in their family caregiver role.

The peace of mind that comes from knowing a skilled professional is part of the in-home care team is priceless. Weary family caregivers can relax and feel more confident that they are doing a good job caring for their loved one.

Home care agencies often have team members who specialize in different areas of senior care. That might be something for you to consider as well. It could be working with seniors who have dementia or those who have a neuromuscular condition like Parkinson’s disease or multiple sclerosis. Many health care professionals appreciate the opportunity to gain expertise by working with patients who have a specific disease.

I hope this helps you make the right decision for your future! Please let me know if you have any questions I can answer about home care as a profession.

Sincerely,

Allegra