Sometimes becoming a caregiver to an older adult isn’t a conscious choice you make. Often, people simply find themselves thrust into the role by a medical condition that makes the senior reliant on others for help. Whether you feel you have a choice about becoming a caregiver or not, there’s no doubt that taking on the responsibility will have an enormous impact on your life—both positive and negative.
Let’s start with the good news, and there really is a lot of it. Being a caregiver can be one of the most rewarding and affirming experiences of your life. For one thing, if you’re a parent yourself, you’re modeling empathy and caring for your own children who may one day find themselves being a caregiver to you. Other positive aspects that caregivers report are:
- Being able to give back to a person that once took care of them.
- Knowing your aging family member is being well taken care of.
- Feeling fulfilled.
- Building a network of friends through support groups and other events that link caregivers.
- A sense of being useful.
- Learning coping skills.
- Increased confidence.
It would be nice if there were no negative aspects to being a caregiver, but it’s a tough job. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) considers the health of caregivers a “public health priority.” They say that 53 percent of caregivers report declines in their own health. Some of the ways that caregiving can affect health are:
- Increased risk of anxiety and depression.
- More stress and frustration.
- Self-reported worsening of health.
- Weakened immune system.
- More instances of substance abuse.
- Elevated risk of early death.
In addition to health-related issues, caregivers may also be impacted financially through lost hours at work or using their own money to help an aging relative.
Overcoming the Negatives.
Though the negative aspects of being a caregiver are alarming, there are ways you can avoid them. The best way to do that is to take care of yourself first. Caregivers have a tendency to neglect themselves. They get so busy taking care of their aging relative that they don’t make the time to eat well, exercise, or go to doctor appointments. They may also give up time spent doing things they enjoy, like spending time with friends and family.
If you struggle to find time to care for yourself, home care can give you the time you need. Home care providers can assist your aging relative with nearly everything you can, including medication reminders, light house cleaning, and meal preparation. When you know that a qualified, compassionate person is tending to your loved one, you’ll not only have time to do more for yourself, you’ll also have the peace of mind that allows you to relax and enjoy the positive parts of being a caregiver.
If you or an aging loved one are considering caregiver services in San Ramon, CA, contact the caring staff at Provident Home Care. Call today (877) 572-3411.
Robin Conley RN., Owner and CEO of Provident Care Home Care Providing HOME CARE- ASSISTED LIVING PLACEMENT ASSISTANCE
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