Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine recently released of a study involving 58 caregivers of stroke survivors and 15 types of common problems that caregivers face.

Not surprisingly, the study showed that while there were many other stressors involved, the largest amount of stress came from the lack of understanding and the lack of help from family and friends.

“Often families aren’t really understanding, or families might blame a caregiver for not doing more than they’re doing,” said lead investigator, Rosemary King.

In my experience, family members are also often mistrusting of a caregiver’s motivation for taking on the role of caregiver for a family member.  They may wonder if it is being done in order to “use up a parent’s money”,  ensure a good inheritance,  have their house remodeled using the care recipient’s money, etc.

Additionaly, their can be blame by the family if they feel that a caregiver is not doing enough.  For instance, if Mom falls, they may ask “where you YOU when this happened?  You should have been right beside her!”

Family and friends can also be quick to label the caregiver a martyr.  They may say things such as “I don’t know why you just don’t put him in a nursing home.  Surely he’ll be better off there.”

Also, not surprising was the fact that the study found that actual patient-related problems were the least of the caregivers’ worries.

What do YOU find most stressful in your caregiving role?  Do you agree with this study’s results?  I’d love to know.


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