According to AARP, in 2020 one in five American adults were caregivers. That is, approximately 53 million people were responsible for the primary care of a child or adult with special needs.
This is not surprising. Many of us ask ourselves, often: what am I doing for others, and what more can I do?
So, when we find a loved one in need, we’re quick to raise a hand.
However, what many caregivers don’t take into full account is just how challenging and disruptive being a caregiver can be.
If you’re a caregiver and you feel challenged, you’re not alone. The Caregiving in the U.S. 2020 report shows:
- 19% of people provide unpaid care
- 24% of those who are a caregiver care for more than one person
- 26% struggle with coordinating care
- 61% of caregivers maintain a job
- 23% say being a caregiver is bad for their health.
Another burden is the cost. Eight in 10 caregivers pay out-of-pocket for portions of care expenses—at an annual average of more than $7,000.
Do more—not everything
Henry Ford once said: “To do more for the world than the world does for you—that is success.”
If you were to look up inspirational quotes on giving, you’ll find quote after quote on the power of giving. But it is also important to remember we can only give what we have. When we go beyond, we reduce ourselves.
The key is to remember that in giving, it is also okay to ask for help. It is also okay to give to yourself.
Here are some tips to help you be a better caregiver—for the care recipient and for you…and those who love you:
- Give what you can, and give yourself grace for that which you cannot give
- Stay active and take care of your physical well being
- Get connected and find a support system
- Prioritize staying organized
- Prepare, prepare, and prepare…so you are aware of all your options
- Take time off to reenergize and maintain balance
- Ask for help, and enlist others in the caregiving
Again, as much as we want to do for others, we can’t do and give everything. It’s just too much.
Technology offers the means to do more with less. When it comes to caregiving, this is especially true.
Consider the shared challenges: coordination, communication, and organization.
There is a growing field of technology platforms that address this specifically. For example, we’ve helped develop an app, Capella Care, that combines the most common caregiving tools into one platform so caregivers can more easily manage logistics, organization, and research…while also having the functionality to build a caregiving team that can join in the care.
Technology allows for the removal of the often-overwhelming hurdles that limit the quality of care those in need of it receive. It does this by systemically improving how caregivers organize health data, learn about health issues, and share information across a dedicated, compassionate caregiving team.
Lean on the team
Whether you’re an individual struggling with a health issue, a primary caregiver for a loved one, or a friend or family member who wants to contribute more to the care of a loved one, asking for and giving help should be easy and effective.
Tools like Capella Care aid in this, and the benefits are many:
- Less isolation
- More coordination
- Less stress
- More skilled help
- Less questioning
- More communication
Caring for yourself or a loved one can be challenging, and your instinct may be to roll up your sleeves and bear down. But when it comes to providing quality care, it’s possible to do more by doing less. Asking for and coordinating help can go a long way, and technology can make it easier and more effective to do so.
About Garnet River
Founded in 2000 and based in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., Garnet River provides comprehensive and flexible staffing and staff augmentation services, innovative robotic process automation (RPA), and managed outsource solutions to public- and private-sector clients. Garnet River is a partner with UiPath, Microsoft, Cisco Meraki, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, and others. For more information, visit garnetriver.com.
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