Seeing a family member suffering from a spinal cord injury may feel devastating for people in Georgia. While they may naturally want to do everything they can to help, the weight of providing that care may challenge their resolve.
In one study reported by the National Rehabilitation Information Center, caregivers of close family members with an SCI note they have suffered from these and other challenges:
- Burnout from physical and emotional strain
- Negative health impacts from lack of sleep and fatigue
- Feelings of isolation
- Strain on family relationships
- Frustration with hired caregivers
Caregivers reported that their role also provided some positive impacts on their lives, such as:
- Finding satisfaction in helping someone else
- Feeling needed, appreciated and useful
- Developing strong family bonds
- Making new social connections
- Finding opportunities for personal growth and self-awareness
The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation explains that it is critical for caregivers to seek out as much information as possible on their loved one’s condition. This includes talking to doctors and other medical professionals to learn about the individual’s prognosis, but also about the injury in general. There are many other resources available on the internet, as well.
Caregivers should take care of themselves, or they may suffer stress and burnout that leads to poor health and bad decisions. Self-care may include scheduling downtime, even if it is only a trip to the movies, a visit with a friend or a few quiet moments of alone time at home.
Advocating for their loved one and for themselves is an important responsibility of caregivers. They should not feel afraid to stand up for their rights and seek out and accept help whenever they need it.