Providing in-home care for an aging family member can have a dramatic effect on an individual’s mental and physical health. Opting to use a professional home care service can alleviate some of that stress and may help you avoid the physical and emotional consequences.
More Seniors Aging at Home than Ever Before
US Census Data shows that only 1% of Americans between 65 and 74 live in nursing homes or assisted living facilities. The vast majority of aging seniors have chosen (sometimes out of necessity) to age in place at home. But many don’t employ professional home care until it becomes an absolute necessity. In fact, The National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP reports that 44 million Americans 18 and up provide some type of assistance or support to a senior or adult with disabilities.
On one hand that’s good. Individuals who live at home enjoy a higher quality of life and live longer than those in nursing homes if they’re given the proper care and support. Plus, those “bonus years” with a loved one can produce memories that will be cherished for lifetime.
On the other hand that statistic poses problems.
The Emotional Toll of Home Care
The rate of mental health issues (including depression) in caregivers is much higher than that of non-caregivers. A study published in 2006 (1) found that 40%-70% of caregivers show “clinically significant” symptoms of depression. Roughly half of them suffer symptoms serious enough to warrant a clinical diagnosis.
It’s not hard to understand why that might be. Caregiving can be emotionally draining. A self-report survey of caregivers conducted by the Center on Aging Society(2) found that:
16% of respondents are “emotionally strained.”
26% say caregiving is “emotionally difficult.”
22% are physically exhausted by bedtime.
Most feel that the responsibility of caring for a senior is simply too much for them to handle.
The Physical Toll of Home Care These emotional stresses can quickly translate into physical health issues. Data collected by CareGiver.org shows that caregivers suffer higher rates of:
Heart disease High blood pressure
Poor immune system response
Increased stress hormones (which can lead to unhealthy weight gain)
Professional Home Care Services Help You Take Care of You
No matter how much you care for your loved one, sometimes you have to prioritize your own health. While some fear doing so is selfish, it’s not. In order to provide the best care, you have to be in the best shape possible. That means taking time for yourself–time to de-stress, time to look after your own health, and time to regain your emotional footing.
Second Family Home Care can help with compassionate, senior home care services delivered right in your loved one’s home. Whether it’s for a few hours a day or long-term care 24 hours a day, our caregivers can assist you. All caregivers are thoroughly screened, matched to your preferences, extensively trained, insured and bonded, professional and reliable. To schedule a consultation contact us today or call (972) 347-0700.
(1) Zarit, S. (2006). Assessment of Family Caregivers: A Research Perspective. In Family Caregiver Alliance (Eds.), Caregiver Assessment: Voices and Views from the Field. Report from a National Consensus Development Conference (Vol. II) (pp. 12 – 37). San Francisco: Family Caregiver Alliance
(2)Center on Aging Society. (2005). How Do Family Caregivers Fare? A Closer Look at Their Experiences. (Data Profile, Number 3). Washington, DC: Georgetown University.