The stress and health risks facing family members who become caregivers to their spouses is greater than initially believed. This article from the Kansas City Star says that research has proven that elderly spouses of dementia patients experience the consequences of “caregiver burden” more than any other type of caregiver. Many don’t just find themselves robbed of their independence, but discover that their health is put in danger as well.
Some alarming statistics mentioned in the feature include:
- Elderly caregiving spouses have 63 percent higher change of dying than people of the same age who aren’t caring for a spouse
- These same caregiver spouses are also six times more likely to develop dementia themselves than who whose spouses don’t have dementia
The role reversal for more traditional families have also been a source of stress. Wives whose husbands have been afflicted with dementia find themselves responsible for bill payment and doing heavy manual chores at home, while husbands discover needing to take over home maintenance and preparing meals.
The article does present an option for relief: getting outside help. This could mean assistance from your adult children, or enrollment of the senior in a care facility or hiring them a personal caregiver.
Caring for your loved one shouldn’t have to cost you your own health and well-being when preventing it could be as easy as asking for help.