A non-professional caregiver is one who cares for others, is not paid, and cares for a person who could be a relative or friend, who due to illness, mental health issues, addiction or disability is unable care for themselves without support.
Anyone can become a caregiver – a teenage girl caring for older people with alcohol problems, a middle-aged man caring for his wife who is suffering from terminal cancer, or a woman of 80 years caring for her husband who has Alzheimer’s disease.
How does caring affect your life?
Although for many carers, care can have positive and beneficial aspects, there are many reasons why the matter can also leave you in need of support.
Money and benefits
Offering round-the-clock care can lead to financial problems if a person must leave employment to administer the care. Aids and equipment needed to provide care assistance can add up and prove expensive especially when finances are tight.
Caring in poverty means people not being able to afford to do things that many of us take for granted, such as buying new clothes or heating our homes, home improvements, going on holiday or even just a short break, run a car or pay for bus fare.
Being a caregiver can often feel like a never-ending fight for access to help for you and the person you care for, such as getting the right diagnosis, the right support for your family, adaptations to the home, and the benefits and assistance of other financial institutions.
Health and welfare
Being a carer is tiring. You may wake up several times at night and also care throughout the day. You may need to lift and support adults who are much heavier than you. You may need to look after other family members too, as well as holding down a job.
This can leave people feeling totally exhausted, as well as upset when seeing someone you care about experiencing pain, pressure or discomfort. Depression, anxiety and other mental health problems commonly affect caregivers as a result.
Caring can negatively impact your relationship with your spouse, partner or children. You may no longer have the physical or emotional life you had together before, or enjoy activities or a joint plan for the future together.
Getting out and about
Many carers experience isolation as it’s often difficult to get out of the house. It may be difficult to maintain friendships or develop new ones, or stick with your interests and activities that you previously enjoyed. For those with elderly care recipients, it could be time to consider Care homes in Somerset at a site like Notaro Homes, providers of Somerset Care Homes.
Work and study
Young caregivers may find it difficult to go to school / college / university or apply for a job. They can be stressed and find it hard to make or keep friends. They can take responsibility far beyond their years and have little time to play or socialize or to just be young. Caring may mean that you have to put your chances of career on hold or have never had the opportunity to have a career and achieve your full potential.