Tips for Caregivers : Coronavirus

Caregiver FAQs

What is a caregiver?

A caregiver is someone who punctually takes care of someone else, usually someone sick. They can either be a paid worker or a family member.

Why are we focusing on South Asian caregivers?

South Asian caregivers face pressure as a result of cultural values commonly found in South Asian culture. One example of this includes the value of taking care of elderly parents and respect for the elderly in general. It was found that this provision of care for elders often led to heightened stress, poor mental health, frustration, and feelings of hopelessness. Additionally, Asian Americans could conceivably spend long periods of time caregiving, which leads them to be subjected to a greater risk of stress and strain compared to other caregivers who may be more willing to seek respite care or hiring somebody. In essence, caregiving is perceived as such a norm in South Asian culture that South Asian caregivers feel alone when they face a psychological or physical toll as they care for their loved ones. Posana is a resource to help alleviate this burden that South Asian caregivers face.

What are the duties of a caregiver?

Caregivers have many duties such as “bathing and grooming, dressing, toileting, exercise, preparing meals, shopping, housekeeping, laundry, and other errands.” Apart from the physical care, caregivers usually also provide emotional support to those they are caring for.

Who experiences caregiver burden/stress?

Anyone show cares for a loved one who needs constant medical care and supervision are likely to develop caregiver burden/stress. More women caregivers say they have stress and other health problems than men caregivers. Women caregivers also may be less likely to get regular screenings, and they may not get enough sleep or regular physical activity. Furthermore, caregivers of people with Alzheimer's disease or dementia are more likely to have health problems and to be depressed than caregivers of people with conditions that do not require constant care.

What are some examples of caregiver burden?

Caregiver burden can take a toll on an individual financially, emotionally, or physically. It could be that the caregiver is providing for the patients treatment while also dealing with their own finances, which can be difficult to manage. They can also be distressed due to their vested interest in taking care of their patient so much so that they forget to live for themselves. This can mean that they do not take time out of their often-busy schedules to ensure their self-care.

What are some common reasons for caregiver burnout?

  • Family dynamics/pressure
  • Financial burden
  • Housing (home vs. care center)
  • Lack of medical knowledge
  • Personal health
  • Sacrifice own work/creativity
  • Transportation

What are some things family and friends of caregivers can do to help reduce stress for the caregiver?

Family and friends could help the caregiver by pitching in, and helping the caregiver by distributing the workload. By doing this, all the stress will not be on one person, and it can be less taxing for the caregiver. Additionally, family and friends can help caregivers by being supportive and appreciative of all the work the caregiver puts into ensuring the patient's well-being. Positive reinforcement can impact the caregiver in a good way by acknowledging their persistence.

How can caregiver burden be prevented?

Caregiver burden can be prevented in several ways. For one, joining a support group is an excellent way to talk through stress and emotional distress within a network of people that relate. Secondly, managing time better by setting a schedule could also alleviate certain stresses. Planning things out will allow for more organization, making matters run more efficiently and smoothly. Another helpful way to prevent caregiver burden is by accepting negative feelings. Caregiver feelings of stress and anger are very common and normal, and coming to terms with the reality of the situation is necessary to be a successful caregiver. Such feelings of frustration should not cause a caregiver to feel guilty or ashamed.

How can alleviating caregiver burden/stress help the family?

It is vital that caregivers alleviate the burden and stress that arise in their lives because the lingering effects can impact both their caregiving duties and their family life. Caregivers will have more energy and time to spend with their families as they alleviate their stress. In other words, if caregivers don't take care of themselves, they won't be able to care for anyone else.

Where can I find caregiving resources in my community?

The local Area Agency on Aging (AAA or "triple A") is one of the first resources you should contact when help is needed caring for an older person. Almost every state has one or more AAAs, which serve local communities, older residents, and their families.
Other caregiving services include:

  • Meal delivery
  • Home health care services, such as nursing or physical therapy
  • Nonmedical home care services, such as housekeeping, cooking, or companionship
  • Making changes to your home, such as installing ramps or modified bathtubs
  • Legal and financial counseling
  • Respite care (someone comes to your home, or you may take your loved one to an adult day care center or day hospital)

Where is Posana currently located?

Posana is currently based in New Jersey, but offers many online resources that can be used for out-of-state community members. Email us if you have any questions regarding out-of state resources.