While caring for your aging parent is a labor of love, it is still labor. As you spend more and more of your time caring for your senior parent, you may find yourself giving up favorite hobbies and vacations, saying no to friends, feeling distracted at work and getting more stressed with your spouse and children. Over time, juggling caregiving with work, raising children and managing your household increases your risk for depression, chronic illness and a decline in your overall quality of life. And the stress of caring for a loved one while managing your family and household can lead to significant health issues, both physically and mentally.
What good are you to your loved one if you get sick?
Despite these risks, you may neglect good health habits if you’re like many caregivers. You may skimp on sleep, eat poorly, skip regular exercise, keep going even when you’re not feeling well or even postpone your own medical appointments. If you’re a caregiver who neglects your own health, you’re more likely to suffer from a chronic condition such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure or obesity. Caregiving can also take a toll on your mental health, with an estimated 46 percent to 59 percent of caregivers suffering from clinical depression.
It’s time to pause and ask yourself: “What good will I be to the person I care for if I get sick?” As a caregiver, it is critical for you to take good care of yourself—even while you are taking care of your aging loved one.
It is possible to take some much-needed time for yourself while meeting the needs of your loved one through SYNERGY HomeCare’s respite care services.
Anyone can be thrown into the caregiver role when they least expect it. It only takes an aging parent’s illness, a slip in the bathroom or a collision caused by a mistake in the driver’s seat, and you may find your new job as a caregiver—a role that few people adequately plan or prepare for. Download these guides to get practical tips and advice on caregiving.