The American health care mess is creating a nation of caregivers. According to CaringBridge, providing caregiving for loved ones and friends is almost as American as the Stars & Stripes,
In a typical year, over 65 million Americans – one in three adults ages 25-54 – spend an average of 20 hours every week caring for a family member or friend who’s ill, disabled or aged.
The average caregiver for someone 50 or older spends $5,531 out of pocket on caregiving expenses every year. And like most caregivers, they ask for nothing in return.
However, most family caregivers have little or no training, minimal support, often face financial difficulties, and lack the necessary information on caregiving skills. This often leads to feelings of isolation and depression.
If you are taking care of me and you love me, ask me what it’s like for me to be ill and to be taken care of. And then just listen. And then — this part is very important — tell me what all of this is like for you. What are your losses and fears? Tell me about all of your mixed feelings and hopefully I’ll be able to listen, hold your hand, smile, and feel deeply about your life. That will help you. That will help me…If we wear kid gloves when interacting with one another, we will never get to make genuine contact with the people we love and need the most.
Genuine contact begins by asking and listening to how others really feel.