Care for the caregiver

Providing care for an elderly, disabled or chronically ill loved one can be an admirable and rewarding task. But caregivers, despite their best intentions, can experience stress, burnout and a loss of identity from the time, money and emotional support they provide to those in their care. Many caregivers have other people and obligations in their lives they need to focus on as well. With only 24 hours in each day, caregivers can feel like they don’t have time for themselves. Fortunately, there are resources available to help.

“It is easy for family caregivers to put their own needs aside while they are busy taking care of everyone else,” said Vivien Bergl, LCSW, consultant at Yale New Haven Health’s Employee and Family Resources (EFR) program. “Self-care is extremely important for caregivers, not only so they can be at their best to help others, but for their own mental and physical well-being. Community services, counseling and support groups are available to caregivers for assistance and respite.”

Working caregivers can also feel the strain of trying to balance caregiving with their jobs. “As much as 70 percent of working caregivers suffer work-related difficulties,” said EFR coordinator Bud Wassell. “They may arrive to work late, leave early, take time off, or receive calls during their working hours. The worries about how caregiving impacts their jobs can pile on top of the worries that come with caregiving itself and leave people feeling very burnt out.”

For YNHHS employees and their loved ones, EFR is available to provide resources and information to help caregivers find relief, 24/7, 365 days a year, by calling 1-877-275-6226 or visiting www.achievesolutions.net/ynhhs. All contact with EFR is confidential.