The Importance of the Caregivers’ Mental Health
By Catline Jacques, MD
In the U.S., the number of people aged 65 or older is expected to more than double in the coming decades, from 46 million to 98 million. And all of these older people will at some point most likely face one or more health crises. From chronic disease to mobility issues, many of the aging population will need help with everyday tasks, taking medications, and staying as safe and healthy as possible.
While some of these people will get professional help from trained home health aides, a good majority of them will be helped by family members. Currently it is estimated that there are over 34 million unpaid caregivers providing support to their elderly loved ones. Many of these loved ones have their own family to support and work outside of the home. In other words, they already have their hands full.
What is Caregiver Burnout?
Caregiver burnout happens when a person has become physically, emotionally, and mentally exhausted from the stress and burden of caring for a loved one. These people often feel completely alone, unsupported, and unappreciated.
Being so busy raising their own family, working, and taking care of others, they often have no time to give to their own needs. They don’t take care of themselves and find they often feel depressed, anxious, and have trouble eating and sleeping.
Most caregivers will experience caregiver burnout at some point. If this happens and the person does not find help, they can no longer provide good care to their loved ones.
It’s Important for Caregivers to Seek Help
Beyond showing themselves more kindness, compassion, and care, it is important that caregivers seek mental and emotional help. A psychiatrist can help caregivers navigate the overwhelming emotions that are a result of taking on someone else’s problems and emotional, physical pain.
The truth is, trying to do everything yourself is what got you into the state you find yourself in. Get someone in your corner and share your burden. This will help you breathe, feel better, and get your strength back.
If you are a caregiver experiencing burnout and would like to speak with someone, please reach out to me. I would be more than happy to discuss how I may be able to help you.
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