Caregiving for loved ones is rarely temporary, especially if they have a permanent condition or ailment. Although you will likely rely on others from time to time, a major part of the responsibility will be on your shoulders.
While such a situation is unavoidable, it is important to understand the effects of long-term care on caregivers if you want to find an optimal solution. There are at least 53 million family caregivers in the US alone, which makes it all the more significant to explore for long-term care affects them.
Hence, this blog will explore how long-term care affects caregivers under normal circumstances.
Effects of Long-Term Care on Caregivers
Although family caregivers willingly take on their roles, their reality is no easier than that of a professional caregiver. They usually take on the task because of emotional attachments and/or financial constraints, and such circumstances can become without necessary care.
Following are some of the key effects of long-term care on caregivers:
1. Increase in Stress and Anxiety
Caregiving is stressful work even when the loved one is cooperative. Depending on the seriousness of your loved one’s condition, you may have to keep track of their medicines, appointments, medical files, etc. Additionally, you may be responsible for providing physical and emotional support when needed.
All these actions can induce anxiety even when the patient behaves perfectly, but such a situation is rare. Most patients are also emotionally vulnerable and can be irritable or angry at times. Elderly care especially takes patience and becomes stressful in the long run.
2. Higher Chances of Becoming Depressed
40% – 70% of caregivers show symptoms of depression, and several become patients of major depression while performing their role. The statistics are not surprising because family caregiving is emotionally draining.
Watching someone you love struggle with their illness is difficult, and watching ones with terminal diseases deteriorate takes a toll on the caregiver’s mental health. On top of this, several caregivers struggle to add self-care to their routine, which leaves no time for them to recover from the stresses of their routine emotionally.
The combination of these factors makes caregivers depressed.
3. Coping Mechanisms
Caregivers find ways to cope with the routine stresses of the role in different ways, some of which are unhealthy. According to a survey, 44% of caregivers are sleepless, 38% avoid talking to people, and 17% resort to alcohol.
All three coping mechanisms are unhealthy, and it’s alarming that a significant number of caregivers resort to them.
4. Poor General Health
Poor mental health and the burden of care often make caregivers neglect their physical health. They don’t have balanced meals, and they fail to rest their body enough to give them time to recover from routine activities.
Such neglect causes the overall health to worsen, making caregivers more prone to sickness.
Overall, long-term care is detrimental to caregivers’ mental and physical health unless they take measures to prevent neglect. Adding basic self-care is critical for caregivers and will help you maintain balance in your life while you continue performing your role.
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