Living with someone with the disease that is addiction presents enormous challenges which affect all members of a household. “Addiction is a family disease.” The below suggested planning items scream stress, tension, sadness, anger…
• Keep you and your family safe. • Have a response plan if matters escalate. • Restrict access to money. • Set boundaries for your household. • Encourage treatment. • Prioritize self-care. • Join a support group.
In fact, being a family caregiver is a common family dynamic. According to CDC, 25% of Americans report being or having been a caregiver for a family member. The most common care given is for the elderly, and for people with mental illness. The typical caregiver is a 49-year-old woman. Sixty-One percent (61%) of caregivers are women. The economic value is estimated at $450M/year.
While it can be fulfilling to provide care for a family member, facts are, “Fifty-three percent of caregivers report that their physical health suffered as a caregiver.” A study in the American Journal of Nursing indicates, “caregiving creates physical and psychological strain over extended periods of time.” Caregiving can be “accompanied by unpredictability and lack of control, and can adversely affect work and family relationships, even the relationship with the person getting the care exacerbating the caregiver’s state of stress.” Caregiving has been called “exhaustlessness.”
Advise about coping with the challenges of caregiving, while well-intended, can be met with, “Do you think I want to live one day at a time? No, I want to look forward to doing fun and interesting things again, like I did before” or, “I don’t want advice, I want help.”
There’s nothing easy about being a caregiver, but there is help out there:
• SAMHSA’s National Helpline, 1-800-662-HELP (4357)• The National Institute of Health's MedlinePlus site has an overview of caregiver services. It also offers resources to help you protect your own health.• Many government programs allow family members of veterans and people with disabilities to get paid for caring for them. Contact Medicaid Self-Directed Care program.• Online supports group, Caregiver Space has 3,600 members around the world.• The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides up to 12 weeks of unpaid job-protected leave for the care of a family member. (Note: approximately half the workforce in America is eligible for this coverage.) • The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) HELPLINE 800.950.6264 – CRISIS text NAMI to 741741 - 24/7• The local Area Agency on Aging Family Caregiver Support Program.• Launched in 1991, the Eldercare Locator is the only national information and referral resource to provide support for older Americans. The National Call Center (800.677.1116) and website (www.eldercare.acl.gov).• Two apps are CareZone and Caring Village.
We have to care for our caregivers.