February 9, 2012

Here is another real-life example of how important it is to care for the caregiver.  While caring for her dying husband, this woman did not tend to her depression or recieve the support that is vital to mental health, nor did she address it after her husband had passed away. From the Good Morning America article “Wife Slips Into Madness As Husband Dies of Brain Tumor”:

Care-giving experts like Lynn Feinberg of AARP say that caregiver stress is a “huge issue.”

“The most important point is that health care professionals don’t often help families recognize they are in a care-giving role and need support, not only in caring procedures but also in bereavement,” she said.

Americans provide an estimated $450 billion in home care for their sick and dying family members, according to Feinberg.

“What doesn’t exist is a structure to support these folks. They have to find their way in an unconnected network of support at a time when they are most stressed.”

There can be serious consequences to caregiver burnout and self-neglect. Please be sure to care for yourself as well as your loved ones, or, make sure that the ones providing care are getting their own respite care as well.