SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) – Caregivers have provided an essential role throughout the pandemic, but some Siouxlanders in that role said they’ve neglected to care for themselves.
A caregiver specialist with Connections Area Agency on Aging said that even before the pandemic, caregivers often feel a sense of isolation and stress, with quarantine increasing that feeling.
“Caregiving just goes hand in hand with stress,” said Jan Schnack, a caregiver specialist.
For one Siouxland woman, caregiving has taken its toll.
“I’m exhausted. I’m exhausted a lot,” Chris Kuchta said.
Kuchta is a caregiver for her husband. She said the pandemic has increased her workload.
“I’m still working full-time from home, so I’m carrying the stress from the workload as well as a lot of the chores that need to be done and the increasing chores of things that he can’t do like the snow blowing and the lawn mowing,” Kuchta said.
Kuchta said there are times where she feels overwhelmed because she can’t take a break.
“When my husband and I got married over 40 years ago, we said it was for better or for worse and it truly is. I expect that, there’s been sometimes, I want to throw up my hands and run away but because I love him, and I made a commitment, I’m going to take care of him to the best of our abilities,” Kuchta said.
For caregivers like Kuchta, there’s a new program available to help that’s offered by the Connections Area Agency on Aging.
“We meet for nine weeks online for 90 minutes and you meet, you’re with other caregivers and then we actually go through an educational component and just kind of dive into all sorts of different topics and then caregivers they get the opportunity to talk with other caregivers. In addition to the education component and discuss what works what doesn’t work,” Schnack said.
The program also offers meditation courses, journaling and stress relieving techniques.
For caregivers who may not have internet or access to a computer, the agency will provide what’s called grand-pads, a digital device that has built-in internet.