Caregiving Post-Pandemic

Caregiving Post-Pandemic

Guest post provided by:

Even though Covid-19 variants are still a threat our mindset has moved on.  Becoming a caregiver was probably the largest change in the lives of many families during the pandemic.  Families went from “normal lives” of kids in school and parents living alone or in a facility to being family caregivers and home schoolers.  Life became a remote fishbowl, and it has been said that Covid-19 became a global caregiving workplace experiment. Post-pandemic caregivers are stressed about returning to work. Caregiving post-pandemic has given rise to how life has forever changed in many homes.

The millennials were the most affected age group of caregivers during the pandemic.  They went from an independent lifestyle, responsible for or to no one to being caregivers and isolated.  Unlike older caregivers, millennial caregivers depend upon social media to shine a light on how to provide care.  There are many young people with complaints online, almost crying out for help and freedom.  There are many good, really good, people and entities online to help guide them, listen to their dilemmas and send them away reassured.  It will be an interesting study to see how companies and workers react to caregivers now that we are returning to somewhat a normal life.  Millennials will have freedom to return to the workplace.  But the stresses of being a caregiver remain whether at work or at home.  This is a fact regardless of the age of the caregiver.

During the pandemic caregiving went from a silent struggle (as I had for nearly a decade) to being in the spotlight.  Families chose to bring loved ones into their homes from facilities to avoid separation.  The largest majority had no concept of the energy and mental drain caregiving can be.  To add to that struggle were children needing parental attention at the same time.  Mine was indeed a silent struggle as clearly outlined in my book, One Caregiver’s Journey.  I had no time to go online and ask for help or look for alternatives and options to providing care.  I had no time to spend in chat rooms comparing my caregiving experience with someone across the country.  Social media offers today’s caregivers the opportunity to share their story, participate in classes or find assistance in their communities.  The spotlight shining on caregiving and caregivers is indeed a good thing.

Most everyone who was a caregiver and worked from home during Covid-19 may have the option of remaining home to work.  Businesses realize there are many options for these workers and the interruptions at work, loss of time in the office because loved ones need help, and lack of productivity become moot.  They are trying to build solutions so workers can continue to provide care and continue to be productive in meeting their corporate obligations.  Workers may not work 9-5 but are able to meet deadlines and remain productive to their employers.  It is a win-win.

People who provided care and worked from home have also caused a corporate culture shift.   The pandemic raised new concerns for the need for enhanced, equitable, and affordable access to care for children, adults, and elderly family members.   While people may have started going back to work, post-pandemic caregiving has not ceased.  Families do not have the financial resources to return loved ones to senior care facilities.  Like everything else, costs in facilities have skyrocketed and insurance coverage has changed.  Families are still making decisions between caregiving and children who have returned to the classroom and school activities.  They feel overwhelmed but are now able to rationally assess the situation.

Post-pandemic caregiving has forever changed the lives of many.  Take advantage of the many agencies and entities who provide help and care.  Look to AARP, and other social media sites dealing with dementia, Alzheimer’s and financial options for providing care and receiving assistance.  Lucky for caregivers, social media is a blessing for caregivers in the post-pandemic era.