A great deal of research has been conducted on the physical and psychological impact on family members who care for loved ones with dementia at home. You might believe that you, and perhaps other relatives, can handle all the caregiving duties on your own, but trying to do so can have significant negative effects on your emotional and physical health. Consider hiring professional help from a home care agency, even if it's only for a few hours a week.
The overriding issue with family caregiving is chronic stress. Caregivers of family members with dementia often must deal with a great deal of unpredictability, as well as with situations they can't control. A caregiver tends to constantly worry about the disabled individual when he or she has to be away from home for even an hour or two, especially if there's nobody else to fill in.
Potential Consequences of Ongoing Stress
Having to ignore your own needs and desires to take care of a family member for any length of time can have negative psychological effects. You might feel depressed, anxious or angry. Experiencing anger toward your loved one can make you feel guilty.
One study focused on people caring for loved ones with Alzheimer's disease. Some 23 percent of these caregivers experienced significant levels of anxiety, and around 10 percent experienced depression.
The stress of caregiving can lead to physical problems as well. Caregivers may feel fatigued and even exhausted as they try to manage their own lives as well as do everything for their disabled family member. Sleep disruption is common and they may not eat in a healthy way. Stress can have negative effects on the immune system, leading to more colds and other ailments.
Contact home care agencies in your area and learn about pricing for the services they offer. You might want to begin with scheduling some basic care tasks, such as having a nursing assistant come in once a day and help your loved one with bathing and grooming. Another option might be having a home care assistant spend an hour or two at the house in the middle of the day when you're at work and would otherwise be worrying about your family member.
When you are better able to take care of yourself and have lower levels of stress, you're then better able to take care of your loved one as well. Contact ComForcare Home Care - San Jose, CA for more information.