No matter how much we love our elderly frail parents, most of us are ill-prepared to take on the role of caring for them, especially if there is little or no other support.
Even if there is a good support system in the family, the main caregiver faces a risk of poor health themselves from the demanding and complex role that has been taken on.
Caring for an elderly frail parent, especially one with chronic or disabling conditions adds a complex range of physical and mental health issues over a sustained period of time.
Impact of caregiving on mental health for family caregivers:
No matter how well-balanced and positive a family caregiver may be, there is no doubt that after any sustained period of caring for an elderly frail parent or relative, there will be psychological repercussions to deal with.
High levels of anxiety, depression and stress are very common effects for family members who are sole caregivers for elderly parents.
Research shows that anywhere between 30 to 70% of family caregivers show pretty significant symptoms of depression, with some even reaching the all-time lows of major depression.
Family members caring for elderly relatives with dementia and Alzheimer’s reach even higher levels of stress and depression as they watch the major personality changes that take place as these diseases progress.
Feelings of anger, frustration, exhaustion, guilt and helplessness become part of daily life for the caregiver, stemming from an inability to deal with the fact that nothing seems to improve, no matter how hard they try.
A main family caregiver would have to be a saint not to have days on which they direct their anger and frustration at the parent living with dementia, when in fact, it’s a normal response to an untenable situation as they watch a loved lose their identity day by day.
Impact of caregiving on physical health for family caregivers:
The combination of depression, anxiety and other mental health problems that arise in caregivers are merely compounded by the physical of caring for an elderly frail loved on.
In the process of caring for a frail family member or friend no longer able to carry out many of the activities associated with daily life, caregivers are themselves at risk of poor physical health and hygiene.
Assisting an elderly frail relative with simple routines like bathing, grooming and other personal care is definitely going to take its toll on the physical health of the family caregiver.
As physical health deteriorates in the caregiver, health issues such as lowered immune systems, physical aches and pains, headaches and other issues make it even more difficult to maintain a positive, balanced attitude to the role being played as caregiver.
Another negative effect that plagues many a family caregiver is that a lack of energy and time may inevitably lead to letting self-care slip as a result of a lack of energy and time, and the same goes for nutritional care.
The best thing that can be done for a family caregiver is to make sure that there is respite, which could be in the form of having a professional caregiver come in once or twice a week to give the caregiver a bit of time to recharge their batteries.
CareChamp has an awesome team of caregivers available to assist on a flexible basis at excellent rates, which will give any family caregiver the opportunity to do some of the things they miss doing.
It’s a known fact that a family member taking care of an elderly frail parent will also reach a point where, as a result of the depression that can manifest, loses interest in activities and withdraws from friends, until there is nothing left to stimulate them and lift their mood.
Let the passionate team of professionals at CareChamp lend a hand. The support of caregivers and companions from CareChamp will go a long way to alleviating the negative impact on physical and mental health for any family caregiver.