Caregiver Stress Impacts Middle-Aged Women

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An article published in a recent issue of USA Today explored the declining physical and emotional health of middle-aged women. In America, there is steady rise in depression, obesity and chronic disease found in middle-aged women. Middle-aged women are described as having the lowest levels of well-being compared with other age groups. According to researchers, a key contributor to this dramatic decline in well-being is the stress that results from being the primary caregiver of an aging family member.

Today there are 61 million family caregivers in the United States alone and many tens of millions more globally. The majority of caregivers are middle-aged women who are juggling career and parenting roles in addition to caring for an aging loved one. Exhaustion and symptoms of depression are prevalent in this group, with the AARP reporting depression symptoms in as high as 40-70% of family caregivers. It is evident that many women in this age bracket find themselves overwhelmed and overstretched, but there are a number of steps women who fall into this category can take to improve their quality of life.

Family caregivers need to make their own health a priority. They can be proactive about ensuring their own well-being by taking steps such as setting aside time to rest, seeking help in the form of respite care or joining a support group. As the aging population continues to grow, the demands placed on family caregivers will also continue to rise. Family caregivers need to maintain their own physical, mental and emotional health and, in so doing, will also be able to better support their loved ones.

Of course, there will come a time when the family caregiver is burned out or finds that support is needed to adequately care for an aging parent or loved one because of geography or time limitations. In these instances, hiring a caregiver from a reputable home care agency can be an effective solution. This alternative ensures the parent companionship and safety in his or her own home.


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