When the Caregiver, Caregiving Develops Health Challenges

When is the best time for the family to jump in and come together? When the primary caregiver develops health challenges. It happens more than you know. Caregivers are susceptible to developing health challenges and, most time, overlook them thinking they will somehow, someway magically disappear. Many caregivers are untrained because they are thrust into the role. I have shared this message often in my blogs and on my podcast. As a caregiver from a personal perspective, I was second, third, fourth, and even tenth in handling my personal health. Thankfully, I was spared from significant health conditions while caregiving.

Did you know the health status of caregivers is being researched more and more? This is true, and research will continue to occur because caregivers do not practice self-care. While our goal is to ensure the well-being, health, and hygiene of those under our care, we must acknowledge the reality of our angels on earth, our caregiver’s well-being in concert. Because caregivers ignore their personal health, more than not, when health conditions unearth their untimely insults to the body, be it depression, cancer, COVID, and whatever is in between, the outcome can be devastating!

A recent study from a U.S. 2020 report shared those caregivers (primarily unpaid) grew by 9.5 million in five years. What does that tell us? What it tells me is that, as a caregiver, taking care of self is critical to the caregiving space. We are valuable and unique beings with a place in society that is required and necessary. If we do not take care of ourselves, how can we take care of others? We must maintain our personal, social, mental, and physical selves. We must get our annual health examinations. We must pay attention to nutritional health. We must pay attention to our scientists (not our politicians…yes, I said it)!

Caregivers must be mindful of the consequences aligned with the lack of maintaining personal health. I will highlight some areas in hopes you may take them under advisement. As a nurse, in my practice, assessments were critical. With caregiving, subjective and objective observations could uncover impending health misfortunes. Dizziness on standing, blurry vision, ringing in the ears, unusual discharge from any orifice, frequent urination, unexplained fatigue, stomach bloating, watery stools, unexplained headaches, and nosebleeds, shortness of breath, unexplained swelling (hands/feet/eye sockets), blue nail beds(cyanotic)and pain.

As your Proactive Caregiver Advocate, taking hold of your personal responsibility is my desire for you. Commit to annual health exams, flu shots, participate in regular exercise and nutritional health practices, and regularly visit your doctor, especially if you have chronic health conditions. I must add that during these COVID times, please continue to practice the guidelines so we can freely move about and enjoy the land, life, hugs, and family time we once knew and appreciated.

You can read more about the study I mentioned here:

New Study Reveals Number of Unpaid Caregivers in America Grew by 9.5 Million in Five Years to Total 53 Million (aarp.org)

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