“I have been a caregiver for six years, but apart from that I am the cleaning person, the shopping person… I work as an intern twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week,” says Blanca, a Colombian who dedicates her life to caring for a woman who suffers from Lewy body dementia. As it is a degenerative disease, it has led to communication problems, food and mobility for the patient, but also a physical and mental overload for her main caregiver.
A normal day for Blanca begins at eight in the morning when she takes a few minutes to get ready, have breakfast and organize the day’s tasks, while a professional caregiver – half paid by the Community of Madrid and the woman’s son – takes care of her. for two hours of bathing, changing and feeding the sixty-year-old patient.
Apart from that help and the six hours of rest he receives on Sundays, Blanca doesn’t have another free momentto get out of the exhausting routine which involves caring for a 100% dependent person. Over the years, moving and carrying the woman from one place to another has caused her lower back pain that she has no choice but to endure because she lives alone with the patient and needs the job.
“I participate in WhatsApp groups and associations supporting domestic and care workers. “I am in those social dynamics because it is not easy to see how a person’s life goes out.”says Blanca. Furthermore, to counteract this situation, the little time she has she also uses to learn, since she was not professionally trained to be a caregiver but instead played this role when her boss acquired the disease. “I have done self-taught training on the treatment of mental illnesses,” account.
Thousands of caregivers in Spain suffer from their situation. The 2020 Disability, Personal Autonomy and Dependency Situations (AGE) Survey – the most recent released by the INE – estimates that in one in every five households in the country (20.5% of the total) lives a person with a disability or some type of dependency and, when those in charge were asked, 50.3% – mostly women – reported having health problems derived from caregiving activities.