"Caregiver syndrome" -do you have it and, if so, what can you do to help yourself?
In the pamphlet, "Caring for Persons with Dementia," Dr. Jean Posner, a neuropsychiatrist in Baltimore, Maryland, referred to caregiver syndrome as, "a debilitating condition brought on by unrelieved, constant caring for a person with a chronic illness or dementia."
70% of All Caregivers Over the Age of 70 Die First. Is Caregiver Syndrome a REAL Medical Diagnosis? - title of the article on the brmmlaw. site.
Peter Vitaliano, a professor of geriatric psychiatry at the University of Washington and an expert on caregiving, said that the chronic stress of caring for someone can lead to high blood pressure, diabetes and a compromised immune system. In severe cases, caregivers can take on the symptoms of the person that they care for, he said. For example, a person caring for someone with dementia may develop progressive memory loss. Worse still, this syndrome can lead to death.
Elderly caregivers are at a 63 percent higher risk of mortality than noncaregivers in the same age group, according to a study by University of Pittsburgh researchers Richard Schulz and Scott Beach reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association in December 1999. That study refers to spousal caregivers.
The above are quotes from the internet - an article for CNN by Andree LeRoy, M.D
I know as a distance care giver for my mother who has life long mental illness as well as vascular dementia now, I have some of that syndrome. She is now 104 and I am 79 and there is no end in sight as her heart, lungs, kidneys and liver are all in very good condition.
How can you look after you, as well as the person you care for?