Caregivers are those people who provide assistance to other people who are unable to perform certain activities on their own because of a physical disability or chronic illness. Formal care can be obtained at home, or from institutions such as nursing homes, and is offered by trained, paid or volunteer professional caregivers. However, informal care, which is usually offered by family members or friends, often in a home setting, is becoming increasingly common. These caregivers are normally inexperienced, untrained, and otherwise lacking the education necessary to maintain their own good health under the stressful conditions they face. Informal caregiving can have significant …show more content…
About 30% of caregivers use psychotropic drugs, such as sleep-aids, compared to only 20% of non-caregivers. (AlzheimerSolutions) Caregivers should also recognize warning signs in other aspects of their life as well. In their social life they may feel isolation or withdrawal from their friends, or be less interested in activities or events they usually enjoy. Another signal may be reduced effectiveness at their job, or in their other family responsibilities other than the caregiving. (McLeod, Maritato) Doctors and psychologists agree that if a caregiver experiences several of these symptoms, that they should consider themselves at-risk for medical complications themselves, and realize that their ability as a caregiver may become compromised.
The importance for caregivers to recognize these symptoms and make the necessary lifestyle changes can not be understated. It is especially important for elderly caregivers, most of whom are caring for their spouse. It has been shown that a caregiving spouse between the ages of 66 and 96 who experience some type of emotional or mental strain have a 63% greater chance of dying than those in the same age group that are not caregivers. (Caregiver.org) But it is not just the elderly that develop serious medical problems related to their caregiving responsibilities. Caregiving related stress