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The Lasting Effects of Stress on Spousal Caregivers

By Ilse du Bernard, 9:00 am on

Spousal caregivers experience stress from any number of sources, and about half have at least five signs of psychological distress, with isolation and stress most common when caring for an aging or ill spouse. Many feel they are “on call” 24 hours a day, leaving very little time for work, visiting with friends, hobbies, or relaxation. Many feel unappreciated and forgotten as they’re often expected to step into the role of caregiver with alacrity.

As a caregiver, it’s essential not to overlook the impact caregiving has on your health. The high stress levels many spousal caregivers experience puts them at a much higher risk of dying early compared to peers who aren’t caregivers, and it can lead to depression, fatigue, worsening health problems, and a higher chance of becoming dependent on smoking and drinking. 

Tips for Dealing with Spousal Caregiver Stress

No one can do everything on his or her own. Accepting all of the responsibilities and challenges of caregiving without help or a break is a guaranteed path to burnout. Ask for help from friends, family members, neighbors, or a North Houston home care agency so you can have time to yourself to run errands, visit with grandchildren, or just relax. 

Many caregivers feel isolated and taken for granted, not only by other family members but also by their spouse. In many cases, the ill spouse will start to view himself or herself as the patient, not a partner, and expect all of the attention without giving back. Speak up and let your spouse know that he or she can give back to the relationship by merely listening to your feelings or expressing gratitude. 

If you are struggling without a support system or someone you can talk to about your challenges, join a caregiver support group. This can be an excellent way to connect with people who share your experiences and share your struggles. A support group can give you the opportunity to talk about your problems and get advice from people in a similar situation.

Find the help and support both you and your loved one need and deserve through Home Care Assistance. We provide trusted live-in care and hourly care for local seniors, and our North Houston caregivers can help with a wide variety of tasks including running errands, cooking, light cleaning, personal grooming, and transportation. For more information, please call 832-412-1345 and request a free in-home consultation today.