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What is a caregiver?
A caregiver gives care to someone who needs help taking care of themselves. The person who needs help may be a child, an adult, or an older adult. They may need help because of an injury, chronic illness, or disability.
Some caregivers are informal caregivers. They are usually family members or friends. Other caregivers are paid professionals. Caregivers may give care at home or in a hospital or other health care setting. Sometimes they are caregiving from a distance. The types of tasks that caregivers do may include
- Helping with daily tasks like bathing, eating, or taking medicine
- Arranging activities and medical care
- Making health and financial decisions
How does caregiving affect the caregiver?
Caregiving can be rewarding. It may help to strengthen connections to a loved one. You may feel fulfillment from helping someone else. But caregiving may also be stressful and sometimes even overwhelming. Caregiving may involve meeting complex demands without any training or help. You may also be working and have children or others to care for. To meet all of the demands, you might be putting your own needs and feelings aside. But that’s not good for your long-term health. But you need to make sure that you are also taking care of yourself.
What is caregiver stress?
Many caregivers are affected by caregiver stress. This is the stress that comes from the emotional and physical strain of caregiving. The signs include
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Feeling alone, isolated, or deserted by others
- Sleeping too much or too little
- Gaining or losing a lot of weight
- Feeling tired most of the time
- Losing interest in activities you used to enjoy
- Becoming easily irritated or angered
- Feeling worried or sad often
- Having headaches or body aches often
- Turning to unhealthy behaviors like smoking
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According to data from the 2017 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) released in November 2018, the number of American adults and children using yoga and meditation has significantly increased over previous years and the use of chiropractic has increased modestly for adults and held steady for children.
- NHIS 2017 – Adults’ use of yoga, meditation and chiropractors
- NHIS 2017 – Children’s use of yoga, meditation and chiropractors
Download and share NHIS 2017 graphics: