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6 Physical & Mental Effects of Caring for an Older Parent

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The Australian Bureau of Statistics estimates 2.65 million adults provide care for senior loved ones. When surveyed, 70 percent of these individuals said they did so because they felt it was a family responsibility. Others care for their ageing loved ones to save money or because of a lack of resources. No matter the reasons, being a family carer can take a serious toll, both mentally and physically.

1. Depression

Though being a carer is a loving, compassionate way to give back to your family member, it can be very isolating and lonely. You might not be able to take the time to enjoy hobbies or spend time with friends anymore, which can lead to depression. Talk with a healthcare professional if you think you may be depressed. Signs of depression include feelings of sadness that don’t go away, lack of energy, and unexplained weight gain or loss.

2. Anxiety

Everyone worries about their family members. This is a normal part of loving other people. However, if your worrying is constant, you may have anxiety. Carers have to be constantly on alert and ready to care for their loved ones, which may be one reason carers are more likely to have anxiety than other people. Practice meditation, and take the time to stop and breathe when your thoughts start to get away from you.

Having the help of a professional care worker can relieve a great deal of the stress that comes with caring for an older loved one. Families looking for top-rated at-home care providers can reach out to Home Care Assistance. From respite care to specialised Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care, there are many ways we can make life easier for seniors and their loved ones.

3. Exhaustion

Many carers report being physically exhausted. Caring for a loved one is a job that must often be done both during the day and at night. If your loved one isn’t sleeping well or needs help at night, you might not be getting the rest you need. Over time, this exhaustion takes a toll, both mentally and physically. Ask a neighbour or family member to take a shift with your loved one so you can rest.

4. Harmful Behaviors

Though there are many healthy ways of handling stress—such as taking a break, talking with someone, and getting exercise—many carers aren’t able to take time for themselves. They may choose to engage in harmful behaviours to relieve their stress instead. Carers are more likely to engage in behaviours such as substance abuse and self-harm than those who don’t provide care for loved ones. Talking with others in a carer support group can relieve this stress and reduce the risk of harmful behaviours. Online carer support is available if you aren’t able to attend meetings in person.

Whether you need respite from your caring duties or your ageing loved one needs live-in care, Sydney, NSW, Home Care Assistance can meet your family’s care needs. Our dedicated care workers are available around the clock to provide transportation to doctor’s appointments, ensure seniors take their prescribed medications, and help with a variety of tasks in and outside the home.

5. Heart Disease

Lack of exercise, an unhealthy diet, and stress can all lead to cardiovascular disease. Heart disease is more likely to occur among carers. The stress of caring for a loved one and the time it takes often leave little time for exercise and healthy eating habits, which could eventually cause high blood pressure and heart disease. Meal planning can help carers develop healthier eating habits that decrease their risk of obesity and heart disease.

6. Physical Strain

Many carers strain muscles or harm their backs while caring for their loved ones. Seniors often lose some of their mobility due to injury, disease, or medication side effects. This loss of mobility means carers are often responsible for assisting their loved ones into bathtubs, wheelchairs, and beds, which can cause physical injuries and strain. Rest and over-the-counter medications can help with muscle pain and soreness.

A trained care worker can be a wonderful source of information and support for you and your family. When searching for reliable Sydney home care service agencies, families want to know their senior loved one will be well taken care of. At Home Care Assistance, our expertly trained care workers are available around the clock to assist with tasks around the house, provide transportation to medical appointments and social events, and much more. Reach out to one of our Care Managers today at (02) 9158 3880 to schedule a free in-home consultation.

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