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March 21, 2008



What a great article. I have just been victim to the exact phenomena that is being described. I took care of my aunt dying from breast cancer for 8 months. I have gained 15 pounds mostly in the stomach, possibly from cortisol excretions from stress. I am fatigued from insufficient sleep. And I know I have had a mild to moderate care of depression since she died. Because I had to stay focused and strong during the time I was a primary caregiver, I did not notice what had happened to me until it was too late. I have also seen similar results with my mother in law (97) who took care of her husband for 5 years with dementia. This is a real problem and there needs to be a lot more education and advertisement of resources for caregiver mental and physical health.

Elaine Williams

As a caretaker of my husband for 11 months who had esophagus cancer, I can attest to the stress levels of being a caretaker. I was, healthy only 47 years old, so I can only imagine the stress on an older person. It still took me approximately three years to deal with my own stress related issues that appeared after the death of my husband.

Carol D. O'Dell

I know about caregiver stress firsthand, and yet I have to say, we have to learn how to do this.
I cared for my mother for close to 15 years while juggling a family--the last three years of her life (she had Parkinson's and Alzheimer's) I brought her into our home and the stress levels went through the roof. I gave a home passing but it took me to my bitter edge.
And still, I believe in caregiving. I believe families should at least try to take care of families--I also believe they need more resources and support.
We also have to face the fact that we will most likely care give more than once--spouse's parents, moms, dads, other loved ones get cancer, disabilities, car accidents.
How do we learn to flow in and out of our caregiving roles without it consuming us?

Now that we're aware of the ramifications of caregiver stress, we need to begin to start asking, "What is the solution?"

~Carol D. O'Dell
Author of Mothering Mother: A Daughter's Humorous and Heartbreaking Memoir

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