Caregivers - Problems, Burdens And Supports

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Caregivers - Problems, Burdens And Supports
Caregivers - Problems, Burdens And Supports

Video: Caregivers - Problems, Burdens And Supports

Video: Caregivers - Problems, Burdens And Supports
Video: Assessing Caregiver Burden 2023, September

Relieve & support caring relatives

The need for care can affect everyone. The majority of people in need of care are looked after and cared for by a close family member - spouse, partner or children. The tasks are usually demanding and demanding. Which physical and psychological stresses have to be overcome? How can stress levels be reduced in order to stay healthy yourself? And where can caring relatives find relief and support, for example with medical, legal and financial questions or with care?

According to a study from June 2018, around 950,000 people in Austria devote themselves to caring for a relative or acquaintance in some way. The majority of caregivers are older than 60 years and the majority are women. In home care, the proportion of women is around 73 percent. Sometimes younger people, friends or neighbors also take on care tasks or offer useful help.


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  • Requirements for home care
  • ">What tasks do family carers take on?
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  • What burdens do caring relatives face?
  • How can caregiving relatives stay healthy and be relieved?
  • Where is there support and relief for caregiving relatives?

The elderly are mostly affected by the need for care when they become increasingly frail. In addition, there can be chronic diseases such as dementia. An accident can also require temporary or permanent care for a relative or friend.

Most people are cared for at home without professional help. Some of those affected use supportive offers such as home help or mobile care. One advantage of assisted living at home is the supportive division of labor: Nursing services take care of the care, relatives are relieved and have more time for communication. Some of those in need of care live in an inpatient facility, such as a nursing home.

Requirements for home care

The living situation is an important requirement for care at home. Care is made easier by age-appropriate apartments. Adjustments in the apartment are often necessary, for example removing fall traps, attaching grab rails in the toilet, purchasing a care bed, etc. Stairs can become a major hurdle. Stair lifts or caterpillars help here. The bathroom and toilet must also be usable and barrier-free for people with reduced mobility. In addition, the bathroom must be large enough so that a second person can help with personal hygiene if necessary. An apartment that is as barrier-free as possible makes it easier for elderly people to be supported by caregiving relatives and increases security in the apartment.

What tasks do family carers take on?

A need for care usually develops slowly. First of all, the people in need of care need practical support in everyday life, when shopping, tidying up, when dealing with authorities or when facilitating social contacts outside their place of residence. Later on, help may also be necessary with simple activities such as cooking food, taking meals, washing, getting dressed, going to the toilet or taking medicine.

Contact with doctors and social services

If the relative is ill, knowledge of nursing is required. Caregivers often form the interface between the people who need help and the care and nursing services or the doctors.

Social contact and good conversations

An important role played by family carers is social contact with the person in need of care. Conversations, joint activities, human closeness and emotional support help to experience everyday life positively. Relatives often know the person being cared for and their wishes, preferences and needs best.

Relatives can make an important contribution to maintaining and improving the skills of the person they are caring for. The right way to motivate, activate and strengthen a person with appreciative communication also needs to be learned. Sometimes there are well-rehearsed, stressful patterns in communication within the family, which are reinforced by the care situation.

What burdens do caring relatives face?

Caring for a loved one is a satisfying task for many. But it is often physically, emotionally and mentally stressful. Again and again, new challenges and difficult situations have to be mastered. Caregiving relatives are often alone with the person requiring care. And there is usually a lack of recognition, information and networking.

Maintenance can be time consuming and exhausting. It often becomes difficult for family caregivers to reconcile the tasks of caring with gainful employment. If a relative is looked after and cared for in addition to the job, the risk of being overwhelmed increases.

Studies show that around 70 percent of family carers feel overwhelmed. The feeling of responsibility, excessive demands and hopelessness are experienced as psychological stress. The higher the care, the less time there is to take care of your own health or to go on vacation. Caregivers get sick more often than the average population. And they're more prone to stress-related illnesses. In the physical area, they are most often affected by back pain, pain in the shoulder and neck area and in the joints.

The time commitment due to care and support is seen as a great burden. This harbors the risk of neglecting one's own needs. Many caregivers feel burned out and exhausted.

In spite of the great potential for stress, only a small proportion of the caregiving relatives make use of professional help. The causes are costs, a lack of information or dissatisfaction with the quality of the services.

How can caregiving relatives stay healthy and be relieved?

Caregivers often put their own needs and personal quality of life behind them. They often do not allow themselves to take time out because they feel obliged to be there for the person they care for.

To stay healthy, it is important to develop an awareness of self-care. It helps to avoid excessive physical and mental stress. You can find more information on this under stress and relaxation and under psyche and soul. Caregiving relatives need support themselves, especially in the following areas:

  • Relief and relaxation, for example through support offers from social services or help from other relatives or friends;
  • Information, advice and training in practical everyday care activities as well
  • Possibilities for personal discussion.

Reasons why caring relatives do not seek support or advice include overestimating their own self and at the same time underestimating the care and nursing work to be done. Some feel the supposed social obligation to have to do this work alone. Often those affected do not know about the existing support offers.

Where is there support and relief for caregiving relatives?

For many of those affected, support offers make it possible to provide care that best suits their needs. They enable a self-determined handling of care situations. And they make everyday life easier for people in need of care. Here you will find an overview of financial, nursing, medical and legal support:

Care allowance

The care allowance is state support for people in need of care. It should at least partially cover the care-related costs. More information at: care allowance (

Home visits by nurses & talks with relatives

A support offer for recipients of care allowance and their relatives are home visits by qualified nursing staff. The focus of these home visits is on advice and information for those affected. This is to ensure the quality of home care.

As a supplement to the home visit, mentally stressed relatives are offered a free talk with competent staff to relieve them.

The home visits and discussions with relatives are organized nationwide by the SVS competence center “Quality Assurance in Home Care” on behalf of the Ministry of Social Affairs.

Information & registration: Telephone 01/797 06 - 2705

Insurance for family carers

You can find information on pension insurance, continued insurance and self-insurance for family carers under family carers (Ministry of Social Affairs).

Mobile and social services

States and municipalities offer various mobile, social services. These services support the care of a person in his / her familiar environment. These include visiting services, food delivery services ("Meals on Wheels"), travel services, home help, mobile therapeutic services, cleaning services, qualified home nursing, etc. You can find more information and links under Offers social services ( and in the next paragraph.

Day care, short-term care, courses for caregivers

Day centers for senior citizens offer comprehensive care. In-patient short-term care is possible in specialized facilities. These offers relieve the family carers.

Social organizations or self-help groups offer courses and training for family caregivers on various topics. This includes legal, financial and psychological aspects of care and support in the form of individual counseling, groups of relatives, and written information.

You can find more information about these offers at:

  • Offers of social services (
  • Social Services - Search (Ministry of Social Affairs),
  • Social Services (Ministry of Social Affairs),
  • the social and health pages of the federal states as well as the information pages of your community.

Discharge after a stay in hospital t

After hospitalization, patients may need support and help with living at home after discharge. Discharge managers or social workers in the hospital offer advice for caring relatives. More information under: The discharge day.

Medical rehabilitation

In the case of serious illnesses or medical interventions, after acute treatment in the hospital, further medical measures are sometimes necessary for the patient's recovery so that patients are able to lead an independent life again, if possible without outside help. More information at: Medical Rehabilitation.


Various aids facilitate maintenance. These include care bed, wheelchair, walking aid (rollator), pressure ulcer mattress, bath lift, etc. A doctor's prescription is required for any reimbursement of costs by health insurance. More information at: Medical aids and aids.

Medical care

Medical care at home can be provided by the family doctor. Resident doctors with a diploma or additional field in geriatrics specialize in caring for elderly patients. Here you can find a doctor.

Patient rights and legal issues

The patient advocacy offices of the federal states provide support in questions of patient rights in connection with hospitals and, in some cases, nursing homes. Legal questions in the event of a restriction or the loss of the ability to make decisions or to act are regulated by adult protection law (previously guardianship). Preventive declarations of intent are possible through a power of attorney.


The electronic health record (ELGA) offers the possibility of viewing your own ELGA health data, e.g. findings or medication data. The right to participate in ELGA can also be exercised for another person under certain conditions. More information under: FAQ Participation in ELGA.

additional Information

Here, caring relatives can find further information and advice:

  • Citizen Service of the Ministry of Social Affairs (BMSGPK), phone: +43 800201611, Monday to Friday 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
  • The interest group of caring relatives represents their interests and concerns. The website offers a comprehensive service section for maintenance.
  • Caring and caring relatives (Ministry of Social Affairs)
  • Information on the subject of "caring relatives" (
  • I care for a relative (Chamber of Labor)
  • Social Services (Ministry of Social Affairs)
  • Caring relatives (pension insurance company)