How Caregiving Impacts a Mother's Mental Health
May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and it also brings Mother’s Day! So in honor of both, we’re turning our attention to a topic that connects the two: caregiving.
Caregivers are the people who assist individuals who, for whatever reason, need ongoing help with everyday tasks. Depending on the circumstances and needs of the person being cared for, caregiving duties can range from helping with chores around the house to helping with personal care tasks, such as dressing and bathing.
Caregivers can be anyone, including partners, family members, friends, neighbors, etc. However, the burden of caregiving is not equally distributed. Data shows that women perform significantly more caregiving labor than men and are more likely to take on the more difficult caregiving tasks. In fact, at least 75% of caregivers are women.
Caregiving and Mental Health
According to one estimate, around 53 million people in the United States are unpaid family caregivers; in Arizona alone, there are over 800,000. And while caregiving can be a rewarding experience, it can also be extremely stressful, particularly for caregivers who also have jobs or other responsibilities. Often, in carrying out their duties, caregivers neglect their own needs.
As a result, caregivers often experience repercussions for their lives and health (mental and physical). For example:
- Multiple studies have shown that caregivers have higher levels of depression and other mental health problems than non-caregivers. Between 40 and 70% of caregivers show clinically significant signs of depression.
- Due to the physical strain of caregiving and the decreased time available to them for healthy lifestyle practices, caregivers tend to experience chronic conditions (such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes), physical ailments (such as headaches and pain), illness, and obesity at higher rates than non-caregivers.
- At least 18% of caregivers reported experiencing high financial strain due to their caregiving duties.
FSL Is Fighting Back Against Caregiver Burnout
At FSL, we understand the hardships and sacrifices experienced by caregivers. To help lighten the load, we offer a variety of resources and services designed to provide caregivers with much-needed support. These include respite care in the form of our care by design and recreation programs, transportation services, and a caregiver-specific educational series that covers topics and information relevant to the caregiving process (more on this service in our next blog!). This Mother’s Day, consider giving back to your original caregiver (Mom!) by taking a class with her at FSL.
Established in 1974, FSL is dedicated to providing integrated, customized care for those who need it in the Phoenix area. We offer a wide range of home- and community-based services, including:
- Affordable housing options
- Nutritious meal programs
- Health & Wellness programs
- Senior centers
- Recreation programs
- Support for caregivers
These services are designed to enable Arizonans of all ages to live happier, healthier, more independent lives. So, if you or someone you know is struggling to have their needs met, don’t hesitate to contact us and find out how we can help you. And if you’re looking to give back, consider donating or volunteering your time to our mission. We can’t wait to work with you!