The Benefits of Being a Caregiver in Sewell, NJ
Find out how being a caregiver can have a positive impact on your life.
An article in the New York Times recently noted that "caring for an elderly relative is so stressful, relentless and draining that it takes a toll on your well-being. Some studies have shown that it can increase your risk of depression and heart disease, impair your immune system, even contribute to death." With so much negative press, who would ever want to be a caregiver? Thankfully, there is another side to every coin.
The Positive Effects of Being a Caregiver
Research by the National Opinion Research Center found that the vast majority of caregivers (83 percent) called caregiving a positive experience. They did not deny that the work was difficult and stressful, but they believed the positives far outweighed the negatives. Some of the most common positive outcomes and benefits to being a caregiver include:
- Peace of mind knowing their senior loved one is safe and receiving excellent care.
- Satisfaction in knowing that they helped better their loved one's life.
- A deeper understanding of the value of life.
- Added purpose and meaning to their life.
- Setting a standard of care within the family (hopefully their children will care for them).
In addition to the many intrinsic benefits caregiving provides, the American Psychological Association found that caregivers who focused on the positive aspects of caregiving were actually less likely to suffer from depression than non-caregivers. Other studies found that caregivers were, as a group, ultimately stronger than non-caregivers.
Dr. Lisa Fredman, an epidemiologist from Boston University notes that "Most caregiving activities require you to move around a lot. It keeps people on their feet, up and going." Caregiving also requires attention to detail, constant focus, and complex thought. The combination of physical and cognitive exercise may be stressful and tiring, but it helps make the body stronger and reduces the risk of cognitive decline.
Caregiving can be exhausting and long-term caregivers should take frequent respite breaks to avoid caregiver burnout. Yet, when performed with a positive attitude and a proper life balance, the benefits of caregiving are almost too many to mention.
For information about how Comfort Keepers can support you and your senior loved one in your caregiving endeavors, contact a senior care coordinator today.