Caring relatives: Do you care for your relatives?

Caring relatives: Do you care for your relatives?

Of around five million those in need of care More than three million people in Germany are cared for primarily by their relatives. Many of these helpers are overwhelmed: after one Study by the social association VdK More than a third of the nurses surveyed feel extremely stressed, and almost two thirds have physical complaints.

Often it is partners, but also children, siblings or even parents who cook, clean or go shopping for their family members in need of help. Some also help with washing and showering, taking medication or going to the toilet. Out of a sense of responsibility or because there is no other alternative. According to the VdK study, almost three quarters of nurses are female.

Things are a little different with Kirsten. “My husband manages my everyday life,” says the 52-year-old. Since falling ill with post-Covid a year and a half ago, she has been almost completely bedridden. Her husband cooks for her and washes her hair. However, the couple will only receive care allowance, and thus financial support from the state, if the current application for care level 2 is approved.

Anyone who cares for relatives has the right to take six months off work without pay. But this is often only enough for a transitional phase before the grandfather has to go to a retirement home or if a quick recovery is expected. As part of the Family care time You can also go part-time to care for close relatives for up to 24 months. However, the time off and the financial compensation through the care allowance do not always correspond to the actual effort for relatives.

Relatives are not always well prepared

In addition to the financial and physical strain, caring for relatives is often also psychologically challenging. For example, because you observe how a loved one continues to deteriorate or you feel a responsibility to be there for the other person even beyond your own resilience – and over time you also give up your own life to do so. Relatives are not always prepared for the situation, for example if the partner falls unexpectedly ill, gets cancer at a very young age or is affected by post-Covid and requires care.

We would like to talk to caring relatives about their situation: How long have you been caring for a relative and how much time does it take for you? How are you feeling in this situation? In which moments do you feel overwhelmed? How do you manage to find time and space for yourself? In which areas did you seek (professional) support? Which aspects of care do you want or need to take on yourself and why? And where would you like further support? And from whom?

Write us your story using the form, in the comments or by email [email protected]. We want to publish selected articles on ZEIT ONLINE, anonymously if desired.

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