Little or no support for caregivers

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Most people will most likely, at some stage in their lives, become a caregiver. I think Roslyn Carter summed this up best:

“There are only four kinds of people in the world: those who have been caregivers, those who are currently caregivers, those who will be caregivers, and those who will need caregivers.”
Today, there is greater awareness of the challenge of caregiving. This is especially true because of the ageing population in many parts of the world.

It also seems that because of today’s lifestyle and environment, there is an increase in mental illnesses.

The trouble is, in most places in the world, there is little or no support for caregivers.

I’m not just talking about a Caroline or a website or someone to lend a sympathetic ear. What I mean by support is tax breaks, professional personnel who can assist at no charge. The private health care sector’s costs have just gone up out of all proportion. Who can afford private health care?

Yes, in some countries, the state does provide free psychiatric support and psychiatric medication. If you have certain medical mental illnesses, the state may provide your loved one with a disability grant. But that’s about it.

The challenge is long-term homecare for a loved one with a disability or mental illness. There is no grant for the caregiver. There are no people trained for free home visits. There is no vacation assistance for caregivers. In many places, there is no tax break whatsoever for all the costs of feeding, clothing, and accommodating a loved one with a mental illness.

Some businesses have stepped in to support their employees who are caring for a loved one with a mental illness or an aged parent with a disability. But they are very few. In many places unheard of.

Until there is a change of understanding of what is going on with the high number of people who are caring for loved ones with a disability or mental illness, caregivers will just have to continue doing the best that they can. This is why any form of support, including advice, rest for the caregiver, or even making the odd meal, is welcome.

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