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The Burdens of Caregiving, Part 2

Last week, we started the discussion on how caregiving for the ill or elderly can take a toll on the whole family, more specifically the primary caregiver.    In this article, we will complete the review of the five types of burdens that may occur with caregiving.  The three types previously covered included the:

Physical burden, Psychological burden, and Financial burden.  

The Burdens of Caregiving

The following two types of burdens that may occur with caregiving are just as important.

Spiritual burden.

When caregiving eventually runs its course to severe decline and sometimes death of the care recipient, the caregiver’s spirituality can be challenged.  The pain of loss or potential loss can bring faith into question.  The caregiver then has an additional burden to maintain a spiritual balance and to continue to provide the care they have devoted themselves to.

Social burden.

Social relationships are inevitably altered when primary caregiving supersedes other relational obligations.  The normal activities of a caregiver are limited by daily caregiving requirements, and this impacts how the caregiver relates to others.  The caregiving commitments often affect the quality and frequency of social interactions.  Caregiving changes the values and priorities in other relationships, because by its nature, caregiving is restrictive in regards to potentially allowing other relationships to develop as they might otherwise.  This leaves the caregiver with the additional task of trying their best to perform in all relationships he/she deems important.

A primary caregiver has a tremendous responsibility.  But with that responsibility, an awareness of the need of ancillary services and support, needs to be exercised to allow the caregiver some form of respite.  A main caregiver must realize healthy ways to share their burden with others, in order to maintain proper health themselves.  Next week we’ll discuss potential solutions or avenues to help cope with these burdens in a healthy way.

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