The Dirty Secret Behind Caregiving

The Dirty Secret Behind Caregiving
Do you know the dirty little secret of caregiving? Here it is: No one loves it. None of us like to admit how much of a struggle it is, because it makes us sound like bad people. But caregivers who hate caregiving aren’t bad, just honest. Allow me to quickly add that while the majority of caregivers don’t love the job, most embrace it, and that’s not an oxymoron.

The paradox

It’s a rare person who claims to love caregiving — that is, the actual work involved. Who would? From a labor perspective, caregiving is plain hard, and providing care for someone you love who has Alzheimer’s disease is especially difficult. Unless you’re knee deep in caregiving responsibilities, day turning to dusk, looking out into the dark night, and wondering where the day went, you couldn’t imagine how arduous caregiving really is. Caregivers, finding themselves spent physically, mentally, and emotionally, get up each morning (if they go to bed at all) and do it all over again.

Why do they do it?

Caregivers don’t choose caregiving, but it chooses them. There are more than 40 million unpaid caregivers in the United States, the majority of whom provide care for a family member. Nine out of 10 unpaid caregivers look out for an aging relative, often a parent or sometimes a spouse. Nearly a quarter of caregivers provide care for two people, perhaps both parents and another aging relative, and 7% help three or more individuals. Significantly, one in five caregivers provide care daily, and one-thir
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