Caring for the caretaker: as important as caring for the sick Caring for the caretaker: as important as caring for the sick

People that spend their lives caring for family members in need are likely to suffer from certain mental and physical illnesses. Recognize the importance of caring for them. 

It is becoming increasingly common to encounter people whose lives change when a situation arises in which a family member or relative requires special 24-hour care.

Parents that care for their children, children that care for their parents or caring for a spouse are all situations that are beneficial in in the sense that this care greatly strengthens the emotional ties of the relationship. But as with any job, however, caretakers must pay special attention to their own health to prevent suffering from illnesses commonly related to being overworked.

Aside from managing the individual’s finances, and taking care of their feeding schedule, hygiene, medications, etc., the roles of a caretaker can be so overwhelming that they commonly experience irritability, stress-related anxiety and depression. Additionally, the physical demand of caring for another can also bring consequences to the body such as headaches or musculoskeletal pain.

In countering these effects, a study from the Universidad de Cantabria suggests that it is fundamental for a caretaker is to educate themselves on what they should do. It is also important for them to schedule in time to rest, time for themselves as well as build a support group that can help reduce the physical and emotional load that ongoing care for a family member entails.

According to the American Psychological Association, more than 50 million people in the U.S. are caretakers.