Caregivers Sacrifice

They Have To Be Careful Not To Give Too Much

Caregiving is much more than giving care. It is the giving of time, talent, and energy. And it’s personal. Caregivers provide motivation, offer compassion, supply a shoulder to cry on…and sacrifice.

It is estimated that those who are providing care for seniors who are 65 old and up dedicate an average of 20 hours per week to their calling. In addition, the average caregiver provides their help over a 4.5 year time span. Many adjust their personal and family lives to fit around the demands of caregiving. In some cases, they even put their own health in jeopardy. For those who are employed, they commonly give up vacation time, income and/or career advancement.

As caregiving demands increase, it is important to find a balance between providing the necessary help and maintaining one’s own life and good health. Otherwise, the caregiver will wear out or burn out.

Health Risks

Over time, the extra demands of caregiving can take their toll on a person’s physical and mental wellbeing. Here are some of the health risks that face long-term caregivers.

  • Anxiety – caregivers tend to feel more tense and uneasy than non-caregivers.
  • Stress – 80% of caregivers admit to feeling a lot of stress.
  • Depression – 50% of caregivers have clinically significant depression.
  • Illness – The immune systems of caregivers function more poorly and their wounds heal slower. Caregivers suffer from more colds and other viral diseases. Providing care also subjects a person to more physical health problems.

These risks should not be taken lightly. Seniors who are strained by taking care of their spouse are at an increased risk of dying themselves.

Warning Signs

Here are some warning signs that should alert caregivers that their physical and/or mental health may be at risk.

  • Loss of sleep and/or loss of energy.
  • Eating poorly and skipping meals, mainly due to a lack of time.
  • Less involvement and/or interest in social activities and hobbies that you used to look forward to. Also, the loss of contact with friends due to a lack of time.
  • Ignoring or postponing your own health issues and regimen. Missing appointments with your doctor is a major red flag.
  • Increase in alcohol, food or tobacco intake due to stress.
  • Unusual outbursts of frustration or anger.
  • A feeling of resentment toward the person you are caring for.

Originally written by,

Le Bleu Chateau