When we think about the important things in life, our health is likely at the top of the list. Without good health, we are unable to work and lead fulfilling lives. This is why so many books and television programs are dedicated to helping people lose weight, eat better, and maintain healthy lifestyles. Despite the tremendous value society places on being healthy, many caregivers are guilty of taking their health for granted – or even disregarding it completely.
Caregivers often fall into the trap of taking better care of their loved ones than they do themselves. Jackie Chambers, who cares for her mother, reported that she knew she was pushing herself too far. “It was getting to the point where it was using so much of my energy. You don’t get enough sleep; you don’t eat right.” Chambers adds, “I was looking out for everybody else and not myself.”
Chambers is not alone. The majority of caregivers get so wrapped up in their duties and responsibilities that their personal health gets shoved to the back burner, where it dangerously simmers away.
The Danger Facing Family Caregivers
We’ve probably all used the expression “stress is killing me,” but research studies have proven this adage to be a deadly truth. A 2003 study of caregivers by a research team at Ohio State University discovered a significant deterioration in the health of caregivers when compared to a similar group of non-caregivers. Even more disturbing is the fact that caregivers had a 63 percent higher death rate than the control group. Before the end of the 6-year study, 70 percent of the caregivers died and had to be replaced. These are brutal realities that must be addressed to protect the long-term wellbeing of those caring for the elderly.
In 2004, a study performed by the University of California’s Department of Psychiatry reported that family caregiving can take as many as 10 years from a caregiver’s life. Why such a threat to the community who provide elderly care? And how can utilizing caregiver software help?
Reducing the Risk of Premature Death
Stress does more than make you feel anxious or overwhelmed. According to the Ohio State University Medical Center, a chemical marker in the blood shows a significant increase under chronic stress and is linked to an impaired immune system response in aging adults.
The constant stress a caregiver faces produces long-term effects – especially for individuals who are middle-aged or older. As we age, the chemical responses from stress lingers longer in our body. Over a period of time, this constant chemical stimulus impairs the immune system, resulting in early aging, development of disease, and premature death.
In order for you to prevent such a tragedy, the first step is admitting that your situation needs to change. The second step is recognizing that asking for help does not indicate any failure on your part. Reaching out for assistance is the smartest decision you can make, bringing lasting benefits to both you and your loved one.
The third step towards a healthier future is by hiring a homecare agency that uses ClearCare’s homecare software. ClearCare offers a number of top-notch technologies to make sure your loved one is safe at all times. Even a short reprieve can be an incredible stress-reliever, so you will be doing your health a huge favor when you make the decision to bring in outside help. And with ClearCare’s reliable software reassuring you every step of the way, you simply have no reason to wait.