Family caregivers are instrumental in providing care and support for parents, spouses, children as well as other extended family members who are in need. The reason behind the care could be age-related, debilitating medical conditions, long term disability, illness or a chronic injury. Whatever the case may be, caregivers offer invaluable support which supplements and complements the conventional healthcare system.
Caregivers are often under significant physical, psychological, and financial stress which can potentially lead them into illnesses thereby making them incapable of offering care. This is why online therapy has zeroed in to offer professional and targeted counseling services to this special group of people in our country.
In as much as the contribution of caregivers is appreciated in a healthcare system characterized by rising costs, escalating human resource shortages, and an aging population, the question remains - who cares for the needs of caregivers and how can you find a therapist for caregiver support?
Caring for a loved one, though inherently satisfying, is a physically and mentally demanding task that takes its toll in aching bones and muscles as well as in the spirit and psyche. By understanding the need for caregiver counseling, this special group of people can be helped to maintain the quality of care they give and charge them to undertake even more difficult tasks when they arise.
A majority of caregivers go through periods of depression, burnout, and frustration as they pour their hearts and souls into the tasks ahead of them. The emotional toll resulting from this experience can be quite devastating if not addressed in time and adequately through mechanisms such as online therapy.
Problems Faced by Caregivers
You don't have to be in the shoes of family caregivers for you to understand what they go through and the challenges they contend with on a day-to-day basis. Just by observing how they handle their tasks and the magnitude of responsibilities they shoulder, you can get an idea of what it means to be in their position. Some of the issues faced by caregivers include:
Lack of Privacy
Every person requires privacy to conduct his/her own affairs and this also applies to caregivers. However, because of the nature of their responsibilities, family caregivers oftentimes find themselves without physical privacy and the freedom to exist in their own environment. This is particularly stressful where the living space is small or the live-in-elder has a condition such as Alzheimer's or dementia, which causes him/her to barge into private spaces due to loss of social appropriateness. Living with an extended family member in need of care can also disrupt your normal family routines. This invasion into your family privacy can alienate your spouse and kids leading to caregiver stress.
Change in Lifestyle
Almost always caregivers have to change their lifestyles to match those of the people they care for. This can be stressful because these caregivers have families of their own, which also need attention and support. Most of the time, family caregivers are torn between their caregiving responsibilities and coping with their own personal challenges brought about by the change in lifestyle. This drains their energy, affects their mood, and lowers their productivity.
Difference in Opinion with Siblings
Care-giving is a responsibility that requires the participation of almost every member of the family. However, because of family dynamics and differences in opinions, the full burden of care and support for a loved one falls squarely on one family member. This can be overwhelming as the caregiver may fail to have emotional outlets to vent and be free. These challenges, coupled with the fact that caregivers may not know what's coming next, may make them feel out of control.
Why Online Therapy and Caregiver Counseling is Necessary
Counseling gives the caregiver the opportunity and platform to confide in someone concerning the frustrations and emotional challenges faced. This helps in arresting instances of depression, anxiety, and confinement.
Through counseling, the caregiver can gain insightful advice on how to navigate through family history and dynamics involved in care-giving. The professionals give you a fresh perspective on how to approach the division of roles and responsibilities among family members.
Online therapy also helps in conflict resolution by training the caregiver on how to work out conflicts. This can help in setting up a care plan all family members can agree on. In the event some family members are still in the denial phase where they hardly believe their parents are now aged or dependent, online counseling helps to reconcile them back to reality. A professional online therapist knows how to maneuver through reluctance and stubbornness to gain compliance from the concerned parties.
The Virtual Therapist Network (VTN) understands the sacrifice and selflessness expressed by family caregivers. Having families of their own, limited time like each one of us, and a life to live, these people give their all for the sake of loved ones. Through the VTN, caregivers can access professional help and counseling at home while still being available for their loved ones should the need arise. Right from the convenience and privacy of their homes, caregivers can access the platform and connect with professional online therapists for counseling and support.