Providing caregiving for an adult with health or functional needs is on the rise in America. According to statistics from 2020 19% of adults were providing care to another adult. This does not include the significant number of people providing childcare services or caregiving for a child with special needs. Together, the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP found that 53 million Americans were providing unpaid caregiving services for a child or adult. What’s more, caregiving roles fall disproportionately on women who make up about 60% of all caregivers.
While providing care for those who need it is a vital part of our society, who is providing care for the caregivers?
The act of caregiving combined with the burdens of everyday life, such as running errands, cooking meals, and having a social life, is causing burnout. Caregivers are feeling stressed, depressed, and exhausted. Many are finding that their mental and physical health has diminished significantly, which can cause even more of a burden through sickness.
Caregivers focus on providing support to others to help meet their health needs, many times at the expense of their own health. This is where a certified Functional Medicine health coach can assist. A health coach can work with a caregiver to help facilitate a healthier lifestyle that works within the confines of their caregiving schedules and restrictions.
Self-care is a must when it comes to leading a healthier life as a caregiver. This includes supporting a healthy diet, limiting unnecessary stress, and finding easier solutions to everyday tasks. For example, a health coach can work with a caregiver to avoid eating fast food due to time restraints by helping them find alternative and convenient dining options, such as a meal delivery service. A health coach also provides a different perspective on a caregiver’s daily routine and helps find ways to combine tasks or ease the burdens. For example, if a caregiver has to take their patient to multiple appointments every week, a health coach might suggest looking into virtual appointments to limit the stress and time it takes to drive.
A health coach can help caregivers see the positives amid what can often be a challenging situation.
There is an overall nationwide shortage of caregivers, so it’s important to take care of the thousand of caregivers out there now. Health coaches can be one tool they can use to help ease the burden and ensure they are also living a safe and healthy life. Caregivers deserve just as much care as they provide to others.