When a parent or spouse falls ill, your first instinct is to take care of them. After all, you love them, and you want what’s best for them. But is taking care of their physical, emotional, and financial needs best for you and your relationship?
Cost of Caregiving
Caregiving places financial, emotional, and physical stress on the caregiver.
Financial Impacts of Caregiving
78% of caregivers incur out-of-pocket costs as a result of caregiving, according to a 2016 AARP study.
- Non-Hispanic and non-black family caregivers spend an average $6,954 in out-of-pocket costs related to caregiving, nearly 20% of their annual income. The percentage is higher for Hispanics/Latinos and African-Americans.
- Caring for an adult over the age of 50 results in estimated annual out-of-pocket costs of $7,064, compared to $5,721 for under 50. Caring for an adult with dementia costs even more, an estimated $10,697.
- 45% of family caregivers have cut back on leisure spending, such as eating out or going on vacation, because of caregiving expenses.
- 1 out of 6 family caregivers have reduced contributions to their retirement savings because of caregiving expenses.
Emotional and Mental Health Impacts of Caregiving
- 40% to 70% of family caregivers have clinically significant symptoms of depression. Up to 50% of these caregivers meet the diagnostic criteria for major depression.
- 16% of caregivers feel emotionally strained, and 26% say caregiving is hard on them emotionally.
- Caregiving may cause a loss of self-identity, lower levels of self-esteem, constant worry, or feelings of uncertainty.
- Caregivers have higher levels of stress than non-caregivers. Caregivers who experience chronic stress may be at greater risk for cognitive decline including loss in short-term memory, attention and verbal IQ.
Physical Health Impact of Caregiving
- 11% of family caregivers report that caregiving has caused deterioration in their physical health.
- 23% of family caregivers (5 years or more) report their health as fair or poor.
- 72% of family caregivers report they don’t go to the doctor as often as they should.
- 63% of caregivers report having poor eating habits compared to non-caregivers.
- 58% of caregivers say they have worse exercise habits than before caregiving responsibilities.
- Family caregivers experiencing extreme stress age prematurely, subtracting as many as 10 years from their lifespan.
Caregiving Affects Your Relationships
Caregiving affects your relationship with the recipient of care, such as your parent or spouse, but it also affects other relationships. Three-quarters of adults caring for parents surveyed reported strains on their relationships because of caregiving, with 46% saying it damaged their romantic relationships and 25% saying it played a major role in their divorce.
Caregiver burnout describes how a formerly positive relationship with a parent or spouse who needs care may be destroyed by the burden of caregiving. But caregiver burnout not only affects the care recipient; the caregiver may withdraw from relationships with their spouse, children, and friends.
How Do You Prevent Caregiving from Ruining Your Relationships?
Recognize the signs of caregiver stress, which include denial, anger, social withdrawal, anxiety, depression, exhaustion, sleeplessness, irritability, lack of concentration, and health problems.
Follow the expert advice listed in 10 Tips to Reduce Caregiver Stress, which includes:
- Accept help.
- Set realistic goals.
- Find resources in your community.
- Join a support group.
- Get social support from family and friends.
- Maintain your health.
- Use your doctor as a resource.
- Make sure you get the appreciation you need.
- Take a vacation. Use respite care.
Try a stress-free alternative!
If caring for your aging parent is putting stress on your relationships, why not investigate an option that may turn your relationship with your parent and your entire family around? Assisted Living lets you spend every precious minute enjoying your relationship with your parent, instead of taking care of them.
If your parent lives at The Arbors Assisted Living Residential Communities, no longer will you have to take them to their doctor’s appointment or worry that they’re going to fall and break a hip. Instead, you may become a little worried because they’re not calling you as often. We’ve actually received calls from adult children concerned because their parents were too busy having fun to call.
You won’t have to leave your children’s school performance, because your mom forgot to pick up her prescription at the pharmacy. You won’t have to take off work, because dad fell and is in the emergency room.
Instead, the entire family will be able to spend quality time with your parent or spouse in Assisted Living. You may join them for our nutritious and delicious meals. You may help them garden. You and the grandkids can even reserve the private dining room to make their birthday special.