The majority of caregiving is provided by spouses, relatives, and friends like you. In most cases, caregivers receive little recognition for this valuable work, and policies in most countries do not provide financial support for the care services they provide.
A European initiative, called EuroFamCare, surveyed carers about their caregiving needs. The survey of carers from 23 European countries reported that while the benefits of caring for a loved one outweigh the costs, the reality is this – caregivers face difficult and demanding issues and need more resources and support. According to the survey, caregivers report that they:
- Need more information and advice on diseases, and availability and access of support services
- Are overburdened
- Are at high risk to falling ill oneself
- Have difficulty combining care and paid work
- Have a loss of income
- Feel like they are all alone
- Do not feel appreciated in their care work
- Have an often hidden, but high risk for physical, psychological, sexual, financial abuse and neglect
Clearly, caregivers face many issues when caring for a loved one. Indeed, a large and expanding set of scientific evidence confirms that caregivers carry a significant burden and face many potentially serious health problems. The impact of caregiving on emotional health can be significant. Without good emotional health, shouldering the increased burdens of caregiving (e.g. managing medical, financial and legal issues), in addition to managing paid work and caregiving, becomes nearly impossible.
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