Caregiving Is a Full-Time Job. For Many People, That Means They Have Two.

Even though you may have a passion for it, the work is often hard, exhausting and perhaps even thankless. And then, when it's "over" for the day, you have to go to your job.

Yes, I'm talking about caregiving — caring for loved ones who can no longer sufficiently care for themselves. There is a caregiving crisis going on in this country, and it's getting worse. It's a matter of money, and it's a matter of time. If you don't have the money to hire caregiving help, then you must spend your time. But if you spend all of your "spare" time caring for another, then who is going to take care of you?

Caring for a loved one, whether a family member, friend or neighbor, is becoming increasingly common as the baby boomer generation continues to age.

The responsibilities of family members or friends that find themselves in this situation do not end with caregiving; many also hold full-time jobs. 

Caregiver obligations can place demands on their schedule and emotions, causing significant stress both in and outside of the workplace. For this reason, those in this position must be sure to take care of themselves in order to protect their own health and well-being in all aspects of their life. It is imperative that caregivers understand that taking care of themselves is just as important as caring for a loved one.

While there are myriad rewards for providing care for another person, there are also potential risks to the caregiver’s health. Signs of caregiver stress may build up slowly and might not be immediately noticeable. Coworkers, friends or loved ones may detect mood changes, impatience with colleagues and clients and a lack of joy in workplace and social activities. Anxiety, irritability and exhaustion also are common signs.

Stress can contribute to lost wages and ill health effects on the caregiver without the proper tools and exercises. Some simple steps can be taken to prevent or minimize the effects of stress