Many sons and daughters have shared that the emotional aspects of dealing with an aging parent are one of the most difficult parts of their life experience. Statistics show that caregiving for an aging loved one can severely impact physical and emotional health, causing depression, premature aging, and even illness.
Impacts of Caregiving on Emotional and Physical Health and Resources
- 40% to 70% of family caregivers have clinically significant symptoms of depression with approximately a quarter to half of these caregivers meeting the diagnostic criteria for major depression.
Zarit, S. (2006). Assessment of Family Caregivers: A research Perspective
- Family caregivers experiencing extreme stress have been shown to age prematurely. This level of stress can take as much as 10 years off a family caregiver’s life.
Elissa S. Epel, Dept. of Psychiatry, Univ of Calif, SF, et al, From the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Dec 7, 2004, Vol 101, No. 49.
- Stress of family caregiving for persons with dementia has been shown to impact a person’s immune system for up to three years after their caregiving ends thus increasing their chances of developing a chronic illness themselves.
Drs. Janice-Kiecolt Glaser and Ronald Glaser, “Chronic stress and age-related increases in the proinflammatory cytokine IL-6.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, June 30, 2003.
Below please find excellent resources for coping and caring for an aging parent.
- The 36-Hour Day: A Family Guide to Caring for People with Alzheimer Disease, Other Dementias, and Memory Loss in Later Life, 4th Edition
– Nancy L. Mace MA and Peter V. Rabins MD MPH (Paperback – Oct 9, 2006)
- The Validation Breakthrough: Simple Techniques for Communicating with People with ‘Alzheimer’s-Type Dementia’
- Elder Rage, or Take My Father… Please!: How to Survive Caring for Aging Parents
– Jacqueline Marcell
- Mom, Are You There? Finding a Path to Peace through Alzheimer’s
– Kathleen A. Negri