Taking Care of Yourself: The Impact of Caregiving on Your Physical Health

The impact of caregiving on one’s physical health is one of many reasons it is beneficial to partner with a trusted in-home care provider.

Providing care for someone you love is perhaps one of the most rewarding jobs you’ll ever have. It enables you to spend quality time with your family member, helping them meet their everyday needs without asking anything in return. The downside, however, is the impact of caregiving on your physical health. While you’re so busy taking care of someone else, you may neglect your own health in the process, which can lead to a number of consequences.

The Stress Factor

The experienced professionals at American, Advocate and Whitsyms In-Home Care know it’s easy to become stressed and overloaded when you’re investing a significant amount of time and energy into caring for someone else. It’s important to know the signs of caregiver stress to watch for, which include:

  • Feeling isolated and alone
  • Unhealthy sleeping habits (too much or too little sleep, trouble falling or staying asleep, etc.)
  • A lack of interest in once-enjoyed activities
  • Feeling angry, irritated, sad, worried, or overwhelmed
  • Unintentionally losing or gaining weight
  • Feeling tired or lethargic the majority of the time
  • Self-medicating through excessive alcohol consumption, smoking, etc
  • .

What Is the Impact of Caregiving on Your Physical Health?

Left unchecked, caregiver stress can quickly accelerate to caregiver depression, which increases the risk of a host of physical problems, including:

  • Obesity
  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Arthritis
  • Cancer
  • A weakened immune system
  • And more

These problems not only affect you personally, of course, but they impact the level of care you’re able to provide your loved one. In many instances, a family caregiver’s own health takes a back seat to the health of the person they’re caring for. If that’s the case for you, Dana Cyra, executive director of quality improvement for Inclusa in Stevens Point, Wisconsin offers the following advice:

“Someone who is completely exhausted simply cannot provide the same quality of care as someone who is mentally and physically healthy. For example, a person who had a great night of rest has a much higher level of patience than someone who barely slept at all. Who would you choose if you were the one who needed care?”

How Can You Care for Yourself as Well as Your Loved One?

The best way to achieve a healthy life balance that enables you to take care of yourself is by partnering with a referred care provider for respite care. Respite care allows you to take the time away you need to care for yourself, while knowing that a skilled, experienced professional will step in to care for your loved one. Regular, routine respite care is best. For instance, designate two days each week that you will dedicate to yourself, and use that time for self-care through activities that you enjoy and that are rejuvenating for you. You’ll return to your caregiving duties refreshed and renewed, and the person in your care will reap those benefits as well.

The referred care providers at American, Advocate and Whitsyms In-Home Care are here to provide in-home care services throughout Florida according to each person’s unique situation. A referred care provider can fill in with as much or as little care as needed, with services such as running errands, providing transportation to medical appointments and fun outings, taking care of light housekeeping, laundry, meals, personal care, and so much more.

To learn more about the Florida home care services offered by trusted referred care providers at American, Advocate or Whitsyms In-Home Care, contact the office closest to you.

State of Florida License and Registration Numbers: 30211518, 30211651, 30211295, 30211390, 30210978, 30211293, 30211382, 30211504, 30211733, 30211535, 30211531, 30211710, 30211709, 30211045, 5661