Can caregiving kill you?

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I ask this question because there is such a correlation.............mental and physical status.
My husband died a horrible cancer death and I was constantly at his side. He was the love of my life. Due to his relentless pain, neither he or I slept and emotionally I felt like my heart was being crushed. I had tons of adrenaline going - especially for the final 6 months. The morning after his funeral, I woke in pain. Spine spasms non stop for many hours. I wasn't even able to move as it felt like every muscle in my body was cramping - like a leg cramp - everywhere! (I am never sick, not a complainer, this was entirely - not like me.') Anyway, the doctor at ER said that after prolonged adrenaline rush - months in my case -the funeral ended the adrenaline rush abruptly. In that case, a person may react in his/her weakest area. (My back had been bothering me for a few months previously but not a big deal). Anyway, that experience taught me a lot about stress. Any other experiences like this?

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Yes, I truly believe that Caregiving can kill you. I know the stress of just dealing with my parents has affected my health, I developed breast cancer when there were no other markers pointing at me. I am now in remission I hope as I haven't hadn't seen my Oncologist in over a year... and am now battling panic attacks.

I never had children so now I feel like what a parent would be dealing with teenagers who have lost some common sense, except these teenagers are in their 90's :P

Are we having fun yet?
I believe stress can kill you, and this is the most stress I've ever experienced -- worse than divorce , moving, loss of my other parent, being broke, job issues. The general unpredictability is what really stresses me. Never knowing who to expect when I call or visit my mother. Always on edge around her, cause anything can set her off into a verbal attack, or crazy thinking.
I firmly believe the stress of caregiving can kill you. When I was trying to work full time and arrange in home care for my Mom who has dementia I thought for sure I was going to have the big one (heart attack). It was an incredibly stressful time and I was used to working in a high stress environment. I finally gave Mom and my brother the option - I either stay home and take care of Mom fulltime and be financially compensated for it or she has to go into a nursing home so I could go back to work full time. The choice was for me to stay home and care for Mom. I will say the stress is much less now.
I often wonder though if we caregivers can't die of a " broken heart". All the things we've given up to do this job; all our dreams, our homes, our careers, our lives. It's all so incredibly sad. How much loss and sadness can one human being take?
I believe the stress can kill you. Dealing with my 82 year old mom with dementia for the last couple of years was a learning experience. I knew from the beginning I would not be a care taker for her. She is finally in an assisted living. I have no idea how all you people deal with it full time. I can't do it and I wasn't going to do it. Just dealing with guardianship duties is wearing me out!

Absolutely. I came within 5 minutes of death from a massive heart attack. Taking care of Mom was not the only stress factor, but it was the biggest. She is in a nursing home now and I am trying to take care of myself. Too late. I am going blind in my right eye from un-diagnosed diabetes. PUT YOURSELF FIRST when ever you can.
I certainly believe caregiving can kill you. One third of caregivers die before the people they're caregiving for and I would imagine a lot of that is from the stress, which is why we're always encouraging each other to take care of ourselves. It does us no good to literally kill ourselves caring for our loved ones.

Take care of yourself first and then your loved one. It took me years to learn that!
I know that after looking after my Mom for so long when we finally transitioned her into a nursing home it was like my whole body just took a big sigh (if that makes any sense) and then I went into depression. I'm still battling it.
I think stress from any source which one cannot escape, can cause health issues and maybe even death.

My Grandma was doing genealogy. Often she'd get frustrated. Apparently long ago, women, (caregivers to husbands and kids), would sometimes literally run away to another state, change their names, pretend they'd never been married, start a new life. That made her nuts trying to do the work she was doing. But she said she started to see that a lot of the ones who stayed were run into the ground pretty early. After their deaths, the man just married another younger one. Sometimes she didn't make it either, then another one. She was talking about "pioneer days", but it kind of made me think! :-)
I think that some of us should be calling Adult Protective Services (for ourselves!)
The latest figure I have read is that 40% of caregivers die before the person they care for. I too suspect stress is a major factor. I know it has and does affect my health Definitely take care of you!

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