The Wonder Woman Mystique
Wonder Woman is a fictional super heroine, published by DC Comics since 1941. She is based on Diana of Themyscira, a warrior princess of the Amazons of Greek mythology who is gifted with a wide range of superhuman powers and superior combat skills.
Wonder Woman has left her mark on the psyche of many of us, especially those who have a desire to be all things to all people and to do it all by ourselves. Caregivers are particularly susceptible to this syndrome, as loved ones become increasingly reliant on them. We caregivers, without superhuman powers, are at a high risk of burnout and illness; yet we often have difficulty asking for assistance.
Researchers have long known that caregiving can have serious negative effects on the caregivers themselves. Here are some facts:
- 43.5 million adult family members care for someone 50+ years of age and 14.9 million of them care for someone who has Alzheimer or other dementia.
- The close relationship between caregiver and recipient is a shared relationship with involved emotions, experiences, and memories, which can place a caregiver at high risk for psychological and physical illness. (2011 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures, Alzheimer’s and Dementia , Vol.7, Issue 2)
- 17% of caregivers feel their health has gotten worse as a result of their caregiving.
- Among working caregivers, 69% report having to rearrange their work schedules, decrease working hours or take unpaid leave in order to meet their caregiving responsibilities. (AARP Public Policy Institute Valuing the Invaluable: 2008 Update)
- Caregivers, regardless of employment status, report that positive activities in their daily life are reduced by 27.2% as a result of caregiving, and the effect on their personal life is 3 times more than the effect on employment. (Coughlin, J., (2010). Estimating the Impact of Caregiving and Employment on Well-Being: Outcomes & Insights in Health Management, Vol. 2; Issue1)
None of us are blessed with Wonder Woman’s superhuman abilities; however, we can take steps to make caregiving a positive and healthy part of our lives.
Spread the load, share the joy! Develop a team approach to caregiving
Give yourself the gift of time to take care of yourself, thereby allowing you to embrace your caregiving activities with the spirit of love and devotion that inspired you to take on the role in the first place.
Contact McKenney Home Care to start building your team at 239-325-2273 or firstname.lastname@example.org
This article is published in Seniors Bluebook, September, 2013 – February, 2014.