What are the Effects of Caregiving?
Caregiving can have various positive outcomes. Some of them involve improved family connections, increased sense of self-worth and purpose in life, raised resilience, and appreciation from a family member who receives care.
According to 2014 research by the National Opinion Research Center, 83 percent of caregivers viewed caregiving as a positive experience.
Children who are caregivers to their elderly parents often report a sense of giving back to those who cared for them in childhood. Also, knowing that the loved one is getting outstanding care provides peace of mind.
However, caregiving has some negative aspects that should not be neglected. Caregiving can have a significant impact on a caregiver’s emotional and mental health.
Studies show that providing care to a family member often negatively affects the caregiver’s psychological health, causing high levels of stress, anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues.
According to some estimations, between 40 to 70 percent of caregivers experience symptoms of clinical depression. At the same time, about one-quarter to one-half of them struggle with major depression.
Caregivers with depression are more likely to experience coexisting mental health problems such as anxiety, substance abuse, and chronic disease.
Caregivers also suffer from high levels of frustration and stress. In addition, ongoing caregiver stress sometimes leads to burnout. This condition may impair the caregiver’s health, mood, and overall well-being.
The most common signs of caregiver burnout may include:
- Sleep problems
- Changes in appetite and weight
- Weakened immune system
- Alcohol or substance abuse