Health of caregivers is sometimes forgotten

“Caring for others can be physically and emotionally exhausting; breaks and help from others can be key

“Caregivers sometimes get so involved in taking care of their sick loved ones that their own health can fall by the wayside. But it’s important for caregivers not to forget their own health. A sick caregiver can’t provide proper care to someone else.

“Reba Cornman, director of the Geriatrics and Gerontology Education and Research Program at the University of Maryland, Baltimore, offers caregivers tips on how to stay healthy.

“What is caregiving and what are some of the stresses that caregivers face?

“Caregiving for family members, partners and friends is a big responsibility with an ever-changing array of situations and responsibilities to consider and embrace. We are not born knowing what to do. Whether it be a spouse, partner, parent, child or friend, it may happen suddenly or an illness may slowly change over time and with that the demands of caregiving.

“Caring for someone who is on a physical and/or cognitive decline can be both physically and emotionally challenging for the designated caregiver. The caregiver must manage the details of diagnoses, medication management, medical treatments and appointments, transportation, home safety and finances among the many issues associated with caregiving.

“Caregiving can happen at any time of life. Children as well as older adults may be handed this responsibility. The challenge is balancing school, work and family responsibilities with the day-to-day issues of the illness that someone you love is experiencing.

“What are some signs that a caregiver is burnt out?

“Physical and emotional fatigue, poor sleeping, poor nutrition, not caring for their own health needs, anger, feelings of hopelessness, isolation, despair, increased use of alcohol may be signs of caregiver burnout.”

To read the full article online at the Baltimore Sun click here.

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