You are not alone!
According to estimates from the National Alliance for Caregiving, during the past year, 65.7 million Americans (or 29% of the adult U.S. adult population, involving 31% of all U.S. households) served as family caregivers for an ill or disabled relative. And these numbers are not decreasing. Two-thirds of the U.S. public expects to be caregivers in the future, and 43% report that it is very likely that they will become a family caregiver at a future time (Opinion Research Corporation, 2005).
Of the caregiving recipient population, 28% live alone, nor being in an assisted living or skilled nursing facility.
Caregiving in a Rural Environment
Caregivers in rural areas face unique challenges including limited access to primary and emergency health care, supportive services, and accessible transportation. In research that has been undertaken, caregivers of individuals with dementia experience greater psychological distress, including depression, anxiety, and hostility, as the caregiver burden increases.
12 Signs of Caregiver Stress
Caregiver stress is very real and there are many signs, among them:
- Withdrawal from family and friends
- Feelings of hopelessness and helplessness
- Erratic sleep patterns
- Emotional and physical exhaustion
- Feeling a sense of constant worry
- Being irritable or angry at even trivial things
- Pains such as headaches, bodily pain
- Abuse of alcohol, prescription medications or drugs
- Less energy than you once had
- Inability to relax
- Life revolves around caregiving but it doesn’t give you any joy
- Neglect of your own health
Are any of these your experience? Did it occur to you that the source of this might be your caregiving responsibilities?
As with any healthcare situation, first, it is important to be alert to it. And there are things that you can do, so being mindful of the signs may help you prevent them happening to you.
One of the areas about which caregivers say they worry concerns medications being used by the recipient of the care. This is especially true when the caregiving is not so much day to day but remote, as when, perhaps, a son or daughter lives in a different city to their parent or parents. Medication error happens each and every day, despite the best efforts of clinicians everywhere. Most times it occurs because of a lack of accurate information about the medications that a person is actually taking, which could be an incomplete list, incorrect dosage, or inaccurate frequency information.
Medication Information in an Emergency
One of the most worrying situations is if a loved one is brought to a hospital or clinic in an emergency. Frequently, in that situation, the patient is unable to provide either some or all of the details of their medications. And so the telephone call goes out to the caregiver. This is indeed one of those stressful situations. After all, there is a nurse or doctor on the call, asking you for a list of your loved one’s medications and you want to get this right! You know that their safety depends on you giving accurate information. Are you confident that you have this information?
The Right Technology for Caregivers
Caregivers need support in very many ways and this is an area where peace of mind is possible knowing that you have the right technology in your hands. What’s more, your loved one knows that he or she is safe, knowing that you have all their critical medication information, able to provide it whenever, and wherever necessary.
AVID/Hx from Diva Technologies answers this vital caregiver need. Irrespective of the distance between caregiver and loved one, in any situation or circumstance, the caregiver can send an accurate list of the loved one’s medications by fax or email, all at the touch of the button.
To be sure, this doesn’t address every concern and stress for caregivers but whether it is just checking in after a loved one’s visit to the doctor, seeing what medications have been discontinued, changed, or added, or in that frightening circumstance of an urgent care situation, the assurance that you can play your part in keeping your loved one safe is a peace of mind that money cannot buy.