Caregivers are heroes

Published 4:52 pm Tuesday, November 15, 2016

They are the unsung heroes in the fight against illnesses and disease.

Whether a loved one is fighting the side effects of chemotherapy and radiation to fight cancer, or having trouble remembering names, it is the dedicated caregiver who is there.

According to an AARP/National Alliance for Caregiving study, 43.5 million adults are caregivers to adults and children, while about 34.2 million adults care for those ages 50 and older.

The report states that caregivers spend an average of 24.4 hours per week caring for a loved one, and 23 percent of the study’s respondents reported giving 41 or more hours of care.

“In many ways, caregivers who feel they had no choice in taking on their role are different from those who feel they had a choice, often finding themselves facing complex care situations, and increased stress and strain,” the report reads. “Higher-hour caregivers are vulnerable in that they have high levels of emotional stress, physical strain, and worsening health, and are therefore in need of some self-care support.”

This means that while a loved one is fighting against an illness, the caregiver is fighting a battle of his or her own — one that shouldn’t be ignored.

It is hard to watch a family member or friend suffer from a disease, and in many cases, it can be debilitating both emotionally and physically. While caregivers are looking after a patient, it’s easy to forget about their own health and wellbeing.

Caregivers are arguably just as important for a patient as is a medical doctor. With love and unending patience, they stand by their loved one’s side — no matter if side effects of physical strife are taken out on them, if they feel helpless in the face of an illness, or if their mother, father or grandparent cannot remember who they are.

They are there, and they are ready to face anything. They are invaluable.