We often hear about the difficulties of the sandwich generation who are caring for children as well as their aging parents. But as parents are living longer, many caregivers find that we are dealing with our own illness or that of a spouse while we are also helping an aging parent. Debbie Allen, who tells her story in the video below, is caring both for her husband who has Parkinson’s and her 91 year old mother who recently developed dementia.
This situation is a recipe for illness in the caregiver too. The stress of caregiving often undermines our emotional and physical well being. Caregivers like Debbie are at risk not only for depression, but also heart disease, stroke, hypertension, sleep disorders and other illnesses.
As easy as it is for caregivers to ignore our own health, it is vital for us to maintain our self care routines with regular visits to our own health care professionals. And maybe even some time off for fun.