Studies are conflicted, finding that caregiving can harm or help the caregiver. Here's one on the plus side. A study finds that people who care for a family member live longer than similar people who aren't caregiving.
Being the primary caregiver for a family member can be a stressful. But a recent study indicates that the stereotype of the stressed-out family caregiver at the end of their rope may not represent the typical experience. As reported by Alabama Public Radio, only “17 percent of the people surveyed said they had high levels of caregiving strain, and the majority put in fewer than 14 hours of care a week.”
Perhaps even more surprising is the fact that the family caregivers which were part of the study by the Center on Aging and Health at Johns Hopkins University statistically less likely to die over the course of six years when compared to non-caregivers.
The article notes that while caregiving can be very stressful, it doesn’t have to be the case. In our experience, talking with your family openly about the possible need for future care—and having a written plan in place for that care—can alleviate many of the stresses caregivers face.