How Stress Harms Spousal Caregivers

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There are more than 1.1 million spousal caregivers in Canada, and this number is expected to double over the next decade. Many of these caregivers also find themselves feeling overwhelmed taking on new responsibilities, including providing dementia care for a senior in Caledon. According to a recent Statistics Canada study, almost half of spousal caregivers report at least five symptoms of psychological distress and isolation. 

Caregivers caring for a spouse, unlike those caring for aging parents, tend to be older and most are living in the same home as the loved one. Spousal caregivers are also more likely to have their own medical problems as well as higher levels of stress compared to other caregivers. 

Stress is a serious worry for spousal caregivers with very real consequences: Caregiving spouses have a 63 percent higher rate of dying than peers who are not caregivers. The combination of stress and the physical demands of being a caregiver put caregivers at risk of not only an earlier death but also a lower quality of life. 

It’s important for spousal caregivers to take steps to protect their own health and avoid the potentially serious effects of caring for a loved one. The following tips can help:

  • Separate being a spouse from being a caregiver. Some spouses find it healthier to address the changing dynamics of the relationship by compartmentalizing the new roles. Separate caregiving activities from time spent together as a couple. If possible, consider hiring a home care agency in Caledon that can handle caregiving duties while you focus on being a partner.
  • Reach out for help and support. Spousal caregivers are often taken for granted. Look for a local support group to voice your concerns and get emotional support.
  • Ask the other spouse to give back. As time goes on, spousal caregivers find themselves in an imbalanced relationship and ill spouses become more likely to view themselves as a patient who needs all the attention. Don’t be afraid to speak up and ask your spouse to give back in some way, even if it’s just being willing to listen to your feelings or express gratitude.

Caring for a senior loved one, whether a spouse, parent, or other relative, begins to feel more manageable once you’ve got the right support system in place. For a helping hand, turn to Home Care Assistance. We offer hourly and live-in care, in addition to Parkinson’s, dementia, and Alzheimer’s senior care in Caledon. Give us a call at 905-951-8885 and schedule a complimentary in-home consultation today.

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