Dangers of an Elderly Parent Caring for Their Spouse

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Did you know that more than 20 percent of the adult population in the United States provides care for an elderly or disabled adult? According to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), around 15 percent of those caregivers are aged 65 years or older!

If you have an aging parent who is caring for a spouse at home, it is important to understand how the role of caregiver may be affecting their health and overall quality of life. Studies show that when elderly men or women become primary caregivers for their spouses, they are more likely to incur stress-related diseases and are at higher risk for premature death. If you are an adult child of ailing parents, it is crucial to watch for signs that indicate a caregiving parent needs help. Home Care Assistance of Denton County provides some of the most common and easy to identify warning signs:

  • Mental Health Problems
    It’s natural for spousal caregivers to experience feelings of sadness, guilt and frustration, but when these emotions continue without abatement, the caregiver can sink into a state of clinical depression. Being the sole caregiver for a person with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease is particularly taxing because the changes in the affected spouse can leave the senior with a sense of loss that may only deepen as time passes.
  • Physical Consequences
    The ongoing tasks and responsibilities of caregiving can lead a spouse to neglect his or her health. It’s not unusual for an elderly caregiver to miss doctor appointments, lose sleep, skip meals and avoid exercise. The caregiver may also abuse drugs or alcohol in an effort to cope with the stress of caregiving. Continual levels of elevated stress have been linked to a number of medical conditions, including heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
  • Social Isolation
    A caregiving spouse may give up favorite social activities and lose connection with other family members and friends. Research has shown that social isolation increases the risk of premature death, primarily because early or worsening symptoms of diseases are less likely to be identified in time to provide proper medical care.

Spousal caregivers are often reluctant to ask for assistance, making it important for adult children of elderly parents to know when it’s time to step in and offer help. Even the most loving and devoted older adults can’t provide their loved one with the highest level of care on their own. Engaging in home care services from a professional senior care agency is a great way to provide an elderly spousal caregiver the respite and support that he or she needs.

For more information about hourly or live-in care services near you, contact Home Care Assistance today. Serving seniors and families throughout Denton County, we can provide the exceptional and skilled care, as well as the emotional support that your aging parents need to continue living happy, healthy lives at home. Call 972-468-6010 to schedule a complimentary in-home consultation.