Although caregiving can be rewarding for many, it is undeniably stressful as well. One of the most common negative outcomes of being a caretaker is the infringement on time and activities. In most cases, this role becomes a full-time job in itself and does not leave much time for leisure activities the caregiver liked to participate in before becoming a primary caregiver. While this seems like an obvious outcome of caregiving, it is a critical cause of depression and if steps are not taken to intervene and provide the primary caretaker with adequate off time then they will quickly become not only depressed but resentful of their role as well.
Other negative outcomes of being an informal primary care giver can include an unfavorable relationship forming between the caregiver and receiver dyad as well as declines in both physical and mental health of the caregiver. wide variety of health issues that arise from being a primary caregiver. They reported that when caregivers were compared to reasonably equal non-caregivers, they were found to have a 15% lower level of antibody response and a 23% higher level of stress hormones in their bodies. This indicates the stress and strain placed upon primary caregivers can greatly impact their health and ability to recover from illness themselves.
There are, however, strategies that caregivers and communities can use to reduce the effects of this added stress. Providing a type of respite care is the easiest intervention to reduce this negative outcome. It varies in forms but the basic principle of respite care is to provide temporary care for a care recipient when their primary caregiver must be absent. It can be as informal as sitting with someone while the caregiver runs errands to a more formal setting such as an Adult Day Service or even overnight stay in an hospital or nursing home facility.
Information, resources and support are often available through senior centers and local public health departments, but more research is needed to determine what services are helpful.