The average caregiver in the U.S. is a woman in her late 40s. Many are "sandwichers," looking after both children and aging parents. With little time or opportunity for adequate self-care, they're prone to "caregiving stress syndrome," a condition linked to a medical chart full of health woes, including obesity, diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol, dementia, and back strain. More than 70 percent of family caregivers show signs of depression.Men care for loved ones, too, of course. But women tend to have more negative experiences as caregivers than men, who focus more on problem-solving and less on emotional nuances, says I-Fen Lin, a sociologist at Bowling Green State University. Wives caring for husbands report the highest stress load, her research shows.Emotional eating is a common coping strategy that backfires on health.Silver lining: When stress is managed with good self-care and time off, many caregivers report a deeply enriching experience. Some caregivers even show improved longevity, better memory, and better physical strength, as well as a sense of meaning and purpose, say Boston University researchers.
Self-care started by accident, with the broken tooth, but now I'm about a month in -- at least with taking blood-pressure meds and going to the dentist. Have a ways to go with other care topics, but I'm starting.
Please, dear readers, if you see me displaying signs of dementia PLEASE let me or Chris know. I have all the other symptoms already.