Rewards for caring for an aging loved one
Taking on the roles and responsibilities of caring for an aging loved one can be stressful, especially when it happens unexpectedly, but being a caregiver can also have many rewards. From building stronger relationships with a loved one to personal reflection, taking on the role of a caregiver can be beneficial to both the senior and the caretaker.
Being a caregiver, especially to an aging parent, is a way for children to thank the parent for all the years they spent supporting them. This time spent together is also an opportunity for building stronger bonds. Though the stereotype for caregiving is that it is a stressful position to be in, only 17 percent of people reported to have a high strain in their job as a caregiver, according to one study in the American Journal of Epidemiology.
The study which consisted of 3,503 participants concluded that people may live longer lives when caring for a loved one compared to those who do not. The research found that over a six-year period family caregivers were 18 percent less likely to die compared to others of similar health and age who were not caregivers.
Mortality aside, many caregivers also gain mental fulfillment from their role. A study from 2009 looked at the benefits of caregiving for a loved one who suffered a stroke and showed 90 percent of participants reported their role as caregiver enabled them to appreciate life more.
Caregiving can also be an opportunity to build a relationship with someone when there wasn’t one before. Spending time with a senior, and listening to their stories can be an opportunity to look at the world differently.
Despite the rewards of caregiving, it can still be a draining and stressful role. Balancing work and family life with the task of caregiving can be overwhelming and so it is important to seek out support. One of the values of the Iamfine service is to help ease the task of checking in daily with your loved one. Groups geared toward caregivers can be a way to share experiences, both the negative and the positive.