Caregiving is a rewarding but stressful job. There is a reason why many caregivers experience burnout. Burnout goes beyond just feeling tired and stressed; it can have negative consequences on cognitive function. In fact, a study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society found that seniors who cared for a spouse with dementia were six times more likely to develop dementia than the rest of the population. Here are some other cognitive issues caused by caregiver stress.
- Anxiety, depression, and irritability
- Issues with sleep
- Overreacting to minor issues
- Trouble concentrating
- Increasingly becoming impatient
- Increasing feelings of resentment
Combating caregiver stress is a concern for both the caregiver and care receiver. A 2017 study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, shows that patients cared for by a caregiver with depression, anxiety, etc., typically died 14 months sooner than those looked after by those with better mental health. It’s also important for caregivers to have their mental health in check for themselves as well. Their well-being is just as crucial.
Remember, we are here to help those who are overwhelmed by the responsibilities of caregiving. We can provide care to people with dementia and take on some of the burdens of care.
Lwi, Sandy J., et al. “Poor Caregiver Mental Health Predicts Mortality of Patients with Neurodegenerative Disease.” PNAS, National Academy of Sciences, 27 June 2017, www.pnas.org/content/early/2017/06/26/1701597114.abstract.
Norton, Maria C., et al. “Greater Risk of Dementia When Spouse Has Dementia? The Cache County Study.” Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd (10.1111), 6 May 2010, onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1532-5415.2010.02806.x.