The average age of a family caregiver in the U.S. is about 48 (Forbes). Most caregivers are women. That means some will be younger and some will be older. Regardless of your age, though, caring for someone in your family or a close friend will be tough. The older the caregiver is, the more it’s going to affect her (or him). It can take quite a toll on that person’s physical health, especially if they’re already contending with certain challenges, like arthritis. Senior care providers can step in reducing the load of the caregiver.
For those loving a family member or friend by caring for them, when you feel the swelling and inflammation in your joints, what happens next?
Some arthritis symptoms can be debilitating.
Not everyone will have the same type of arthritis and not everyone is going to experience the same symptoms as others. For some individuals, flareups and swelling can be severe. The pain one person experiences could be debilitating while for another it might only be minor.
However, the more you push yourself, the more you struggle with sleep at night because of caregiver stress, the less exercise you get, the more it’s going to affect your health and ability to continue pressing forward.
If you’re in your 50’s, for example, dealing with arthritis, and helping your aging father, running errands, doing the laundry, cleaning after him, and all while trying to keep up with your own things, you could very well find swelling to become more severe.
Imagine waking up in the morning already slow to move because of a flareup. You struggle to make it to the kitchen where you start a pot of coffee. From there, you savor the aroma and crave the hit of caffeine to ‘wake up’ a little more.
Throughout the day, because you’re running like crazy and already under time pressure, you keep drinking more coffee or grab a soda or something else, anything but water, which is really what your body needs.
On top of that, the stress is pounding down on you, to which your brain reacts by creating more chemicals that are designed to protect you during a fight or flight response (which is what stress causes). That’s only going to exacerbate the pressure on those joints.
Then, by the time you get home, you’re so sore you can’t settle and sleep. You are in pain and the night looks too long now. You wake up the next day and it’s even worse.
When you won’t be able to help like you want senior care providers can help.
When you don’t take proper care of yourself (regardless of age or health challenges), there will come a time when you won’t be able to help that senior.
Senior care is the best support that will alleviate the stress and strain of being a caregiver so you can better care for yourself. Remember, if you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t be able to care for that senior in your life who needs help.