When the stress of being an unpaid caregiver is too much

Caring for a sick person is stressful. Studies indicate that often times caregivers become sick themselves. The primary responsibility for such care generally falls to the women in a family; the spouse or female children particularly. These same women may be juggling a job, the needs of their children or grandchildren as well as maintaining a household (grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning, scheduling repairs etc.) The care usually starts out as minimal and can be managed but eventually becomes overwhelming. There are many articles and resources designed to relieve the emotional, mental and physical pressure placed on those who are unpaid primary caregivers. Below we’ve listed a few as well as a brief description of the resource.

The following is a NY Times article poignantly details the experience of many wives who have cared for their ailing husbands over a course of years. It starts out saying “More than 40 million women are the primary caregivers for a sick person, very often the man they are married to. Caregiving, after all, is a wife’s expected role, and most accept it perforce as a duty that offers precious time to express love and wishes, settle financial and legal matters, and right past wrongs.” It expresses points of view rarely talked about. Read the rest of the article at:

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/04/09/caregiving-as-a-roller-coaster-ride-from-hell/?_r=0

WomensHealth.gov is a good resource offering questionnaires, fact sheets and articles. The link below is to a question and answer page so you can go directly to the topic that interests you most.

https://www.womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/caregiver-stress.html

The Alzheimer’s association maintains a very informative website. This link is to a “caregiver stress test” and starts out by saying “Caregiving can be stressful. Get the help you need. Are you a caregiver for someone with Alzheimer's or dementia? Do you feel overwhelmed? You may be putting your own health at risk. Take our Caregiver Stress Check and get resources that can help.”

http://www.alz.org/care/alzheimers-dementia-stress-check.asp

The website “Family Caregiver Alliance®” has articles, education and resources. It starts off by saying “Caregiving takes many forms. Many of us help older, sick, or disabled family members and friends every day. We know we are helping, but we don't think of ourselves as caregivers. We are glad to do this and feel rewarded by it, but if the demands are heavy, over time we can also become exhausted and stressed. We think we should be able to handle caregiving roles on top of busy work and family schedules and begin to feel guilty and depressed as our stamina wanes.” To read more visit their site at:

https://caregiver.org/caregiving

These are just a few available web resources. The point is to get help. If you can afford to hire a nurse or an in-home health care worker, it is advisable to do so. If you haven't realized it already, your health is a very precious thing. Take care of yourself by getting help taking care of a loved one.

Brought to you by Angel Care Nurse Registry.

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