By the year 2030, an estimated 20 percent of the U.S. population will be 65 years or older.
As the American population ages, a growing number of people will be serving as caregivers for family members affected by dementia and other types of functional impairment. (Dementia is present in 10 percent of individuals older than 65 years and in 47 percent of those older than 85 years).
Caregiving is such a small and innocent word for such a large and often stressful job.
While many understand that caring for someone with memory impairment can be physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausting, few realize that they could be putting their own health at risk. A study of elderly spouse caregivers, aged 66 to 96: found that caregivers who experience mental or emotional strain have a 63% higher risk of dying than non-caregivers
There are many terms used to describe well being. Should you look the term up in the dictionary contentment, happiness, health, prosperity, and wellness are all listed as definitions of well being. Well being is a state of balance or harmony. Each of the dictionary terms in reality are adjectives that describe well being. The definition of well being is actually very personal, and also changeable. Events, situations, and circumstances that occur in one’s life upset the balance and produces stress. Not everyone responds to life events with the same thoughts, feelings and reactions. When we perceive life events to be stressful, or we exceed our stress threshold, it is not uncommon to experience anxiety. If we think of being in balance as “being present with oneself,” when anxiety tips that balance it can result in feeling “ahead of oneself” worrying about what is to come, or “behind oneself,” worrying about what has occurred. Finding ways to manage responses to stress is critical to well being and maintaining one’s personal balance. Developing your own foundation for well being can help you not only to find and promote your own balance, but it can help you to support well being in the face of ongoing or increasing challenges that may be presented to you in your demanding role as caregiver.
Most of the research on the health of caregivers has focused on psychologic well-being. Depression is the most heavily researched area in caregiver health. One study revealed that anxiety was present in 17.5 percent of caregivers, compared with 10.9 percent of subjects in a matched control group. An increased incidence of anxiety correlates with research that has documented a higher amount of psychotropic drug use among caregivers.
Understandably, caregivers are often so concerned with care for their relative’s needs, that they lose sight of their own well being. Ignoring the signs of stress on the body can be both unhealthy and dangerous.
Fortunately, there are many resources available to assist caregivers. One tool offered by the Alzheimer’s Association is a self assessment quizzes for you to evaluate your own stress level and risk factors. The best way to take care of others is to take care of yourself. You can be one less thing they have to worry about.
Please give yourself a gift today and log into the Alzheimer’s Stress Check Site at
http://alz.org/stresscheck/overview.asp?type=homepage and start taking a good care of YOU!!!