Caring for your parents can be rewarding, but it can also be physically, spiritually and mentally demanding- even exhausting. It is vital that caregivers find the time to take care of themselves.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration on Aging report these following statistics in their Caregiver Tip Sheet concerning those providing elderly assistance. Research suggests that the physical and emotional demands on caregivers put them at greater risk for serious health problems.
Caregivers are more at risk for:
- Infectious diseases, such as colds and flu
- Chronic diseases, such as heart problems, diabetes, and cancer
- Depression is twice as common among caregivers compared to non-caregivers
Preventive health measures are important while providing care for another person. These include immunization, all the regularly scheduled check-ups, and recommended screenings, telling your doctor you are a caregiver and talking to him/her if you are feeling depressed or nervous.
Those providing senior assistance must also take time out of every day to do something just for themselves that they enjoy. Exercise and a good diet are good at any age, but the time and effort these take will benefit not only the one providing elderly assistance, but also the one receiving care.
It is also important to have a list of good substitute or emergency elder care resources handy in the event that you need relief.