Feb 15, 2019
According to the National Alliance for Caregiving, nearly 66 million Americans serve as family caregivers for an ill or disabled relative. On average, family caregivers provide 39.2 hours of care a week, which is roughly the equivalent of a full-time job.
It’s rewarding work, undertaken with love. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy—and it doesn’t mean caregivers don’t deserve and need a break.
In honor of National Caregivers Day (Feb. 15), we want to say to all the family caregivers out there: your work is necessary, and it is deeply appreciated. And please, please give yourself a break!
Caregiver stress is a condition that results from the physical and emotional stress of caring for another. It is associated with depression and anxiety, with 40 to 70% of caregivers reporting symptoms of depression. It can also contribute to conditions including high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, and heart disease—and it’s not hard to see why: focusing on caring for another can lead to ignoring one’s own health needs. It’s not unusual for caregivers to skip doctors’ appointments, eat poorly, or put off exercise.
But caregivers need care too! You need to stay upbeat and healthy for your own sake, as well as for the sake of the love one you’re caring for.
Caring for yourself is not selfish: it makes you stronger, happier, and more able to care well for your loved one. And there’s no better day to start than National Caregivers Day!
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