The Physical and Psychological Impact of Caregiving
More and more people are becoming caregivers. According to statistics, 43 million Americans are providing care for someone who is 50 years old or older. The impact of caregiving on the psychological and physical well being of an individual is a concern especially given the number of people involved in providing care for a loved one.
There is evidence to suggest that most caregivers work without adequate support. Most of them find themselves in situations where they have to suddenly adjust aspects of their lives in order to provide care to a loved one.
Because many caregivers are unprepared, they tend to suffer a lot of distress when performing their work. Sometimes the situation demands that they provide care even during their free time. It can be even more challenging to provide care to patients with mental conditions such as Alzheimer’s and dementia because they need to be monitored throughout the day.
It is no wonder then that studies indicate that 40% to 70% of caregivers show clinical signs of depression. Even though they are distressed, they continue working under difficult conditions which only serves to worsen their mental state.
Impact on Physical Health
Caregiving is a very demanding job. Caregivers usually do not have a lot of time to spare. Due to the tight schedule caregivers tend to pay little attention to their diet and physical health. Most of them do not have the time to prepare a healthy meal or set aside time for exercise.
It is these situations that increase the risk of developing illnesses. Poor diet and physical activity coupled with poor mental health leads to physical complications such as a weakened immune system, increase in body fat, etc. Caregivers, therefore, need to pay more attention to their own health for their sake and for the sake of the person who needs care.