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Senior care providers give insight on worker fatigue, how it impacts their health

One relief program aimed at caregivers is respite care, where a loved one can be cared for without family aid for up to several hours or days a week.

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — A record 41 million Americans are serving as caregivers for an again parent, spouse or someone who struggles with day-to-day tasks. 

A new study showed that caregiver burnout is becoming a growing problem. 3News spoke with one caregiver who takes care of three members of his family who need help. 

Julius Valcik cares for his ill wife, his older brother and his older sister. He lives in Corpus Christi and his siblings live in Calallen.

"There's only five days in the week," Valcik said. "And in order to get it all done, plus the little entertainment for myself, as necessary to keep my mind functioning and me being a happy person."

He said caring for others can become overwhelming in an instant.

"I visit with them and I help them with their daily chores and their medications as well as food preparation," Valcik said.

According to a new survey by Seniorly, a national network of senior care advisors, besides losing workforce who give up their jobs to take care of others, over the past six years, the percentage of family caregivers who say their own health status is fair or poor nearly doubled, going from 12 percent to 21 percent.

Clint Rendall with AAdi agrees that being a caregiver can put considerable mental strain on individuals.

"We get so stressed personally," Rendall said. "Whether that's with the workplace, or providing care for someone that we stop caring for ourselves and then it's sort of a vicious cycle."

The 65-plus population in Texas is projected to grow from 3.9 million to 5.6 million by 2030 according to AARP.

Other key findings in the Seniorly survey include that among states, Texas is number three in multigenerational households at 4.9 percent and the nursing shortage has made the state the ninth highest in the country in nursing care workers to the number of seniors.

One relief program aimed at caregivers is respite care where a loved one can be cared for without family aid for up to several hours or days a week.

Mary Ann Mondragon, who is a caregiver specialist at Caregivers SOS, a WellMed charitable foundation program, said there is lots of help available.

"We have trainings. We have classes for the caregivers. We have a stress busting class that will actually be starting in April. And it's a 9 week class," Mondragon said. "And it helps the family caregivers learn how to take care of their loved ones. How to take care of themselves more importantly."

For more information residents can contact Caregivers SOS at 361-826-2343.

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