As Americans enter their 40s, they often find themselves assuming caregiver roles for their senior parents or other elderly family members. When a chronic condition like Alzheimer’s is involved, caregivers just like you find their caregiver duties take up increasing amounts of their time, energy and financial resources. If you are in this stage of life or about to enter it, it’s beneficial to gain an understanding of what you can expect, how it may affect your life and what you can do to deal with the stress that will surely come.

The two sides of caregiving

There are two sides to caregiving. One side is the benefits you receive from this amazing experience and the other side is the impact it will have on you emotionally, physically and financially. You will have the opportunity to gain an exceptional bonding experience with your loved one. You may experience tremendous personal growth as you give of your time, love and resources to care for someone else.

As a caregiver you may be investing long hours. You will likely experience disruptions in your sleep, anxiety and stress, a reduced amount of time for social life, high blood pressure and possibly depression. These are a combination of emotional and physical impacts. Caregivers who lose themselves in the role to the extent that they don’t care properly for themselves often face an increase in health issues.

You must practice self-care

Caregivers often feel like they aren’t able to take a break to do something for themselves. Yet it’s crucial to look after yourself and make certain you are maintaining your own health just as much as the person you are caregiving for. There are too many negative effects of neglecting your own care to ignore! Caregiver longevity can be reduced up to 10 years when stress builds up and isn’t alleviated properly.

You must watch for the symptoms that you need to manage your stress and take better care of your health. You might want to attend a local support group for caregivers or at least join one online where you can share problem solving techniques with each other and have someone to talk to who knows exactly what you are going through.

When you are in prime shape, you can better take care of your elderly loved one. Your good health benefits both of you. If you let your health and well-being slip to low levels, it could result in dire consequences such as caregiver burnout.

There’s no need to struggle along with a caregiving role that’s too big for one person to fill. You can call elder care services to send a caregiver to take over for you full time or help you out part time.

The caregivers at Home Care Matters are available to talk with you and your family about all of your elder care needs. Home Care Matters is a home care agency providing quality and affordable elderly care in Flowery Branch, GA and the surrounding areas. Call (678) 828-2195 for more information.