Taking over care for a spouse, parent, or other loved one is sometimes a natural part of life. Caring for someone with a chronic or progressive disease such as Alzheimer’s can be rewarding but also difficult. If you are a family caregiver, it’s just as important to take care of yourself and check your own mental and physical health from time to time. Caregivers who are also juggling their own lives are at a much higher risk of depression and illness.
Since September is World Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, starting the conversation about the health and well-being of a family caregiver is an essential part of overall care.
Effects of Caregiving on Health
Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s comes with its own unique challenges. Experiencing mental and emotional strain is common, which is often coupled with the physical demands of providing care. Some of the most common health complaints from caregivers include:
- Changes in mood
- Sleep deprivation
- Poor eating habits
- Poor exercise habits
- Feelings of depression
- Becoming sick more often
- High cholesterol and blood pressure
Steps to improving your own health as a caregiver
- Reducing and managing personal stress
- Recognizing early signs of depression in yourself
- Acknowledge your feelings
- Making time for your own hobbies and interests
- Identify if/when you need extra help with caregiving tasks
- Know what resources are available to you
- Communicate with your physician or talk to a therapist
- Attend to your own healthcare needs
- Set goals for yourself
Register for a class on caring for the caregiver with Jamie beginning in October. Please call 801-350-4777.