- Reviewed by Anthony L. Komaroff, MD, Editor in Chief, Harvard Health Letter
Being a caregiver for a family member — particularly for someone with substantial needs — is a labor of love. Whether you're caring for a spouse, parent, adult child, grandchild, or another family member, the job has high demands, grueling hours, no pay, little time for yourself, and, in some cases, health risks. "Meeting a loved one's needs can come at the cost of the caregiver's own well-being. While the role can be deeply satisfying, it can also lead to burnout and risks for high blood pressure, fatigue or sleep problems, depression, isolation, significant weight loss or weight gain, and even premature death," explains Marie Clouqueur, a therapist and geriatric case manager in the Division of Geriatrics at Harvard-affiliated McLean Hospital.
You need a breather now and then — to exercise, go to doctor appointments, see friends, or simply recharge — to maintain your equilibrium and have the strength to continue as a caregiver. The way to do that is with respite care.
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About the Author
Heidi Godman, Executive Editor, Harvard Health Letter
About the Reviewer
Anthony L. Komaroff, MD, Editor in Chief, Harvard Health Letter
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