Did you know according to one estimate, there are more than 40 million family caregivers in the United States? This means that there are millions of people with different stories, different perspectives and different needs. It also means there are millions of people who have a lot in common.
For example, research has determined that most family caregivers in the United States are 35-64 years old and that most of them also work. As documented in relevant studies and reports, most caregivers are married or live with partners. Experiencing stress or difficulty coping is also something many family caregivers have in common, even when there is no global pandemic to contend with.
For many family caregivers, the additional stress of life during the COVID-19 pandemic may be making matters even worse. During this National Elder Law Month of May, let us share with you how you can tell if you may need additional professional help, and how to get it.
First, are you or the family caregivers in your life experiencing any changes in mood or behavior? The ordinary demands of caring for an aging parent or family member with serious health issues may make you more susceptible to:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD
If you have experienced any of these, you may be aware of the symptoms and know how to address them. Even so, experts say that some symptoms make sneak up on you, especially now. Therefore, they recommend talking to your doctor or using online assessment tools to identify potential issues of concern.
One option for doing so is a quick, free, and confidential evaluation that can be accessed through Mental Health of America’s website. This particular assessment can be used to verify symptoms of depression, but is not considered a diagnostic instrument. Mental Health America encourages anyone who uses the evaluation to share the outcome with his or her doctor or healthcare provider.
Second, we know how hard it can be to get professional help during the stages of Covid-19 lockdown, as well as, the potential caregiver guilt you may be dealing with as it becomes harder to “do it all”. Please be aware that professional help is still available for family caregivers in quarantine. If you already have a therapist or counselor, check out his or her website or call the office to see if they are offering virtual sessions. If not, be sure to ask about other options.
Third, talk to your family. Most family caregivers are not alone. They do, however, tend to focus on other people instead of themselves. A few steps you can take right now are to:
- Ask for help from your spouse
- Talk to your children about the help you need
- Request siblings step in where they can
- Get at least a few hours a week just for you
We know this conversation is challenging. As always, you can also count on us for legal support and guidance. Please do not hesitate to contact us through our website, by email or by phone at any time.