Medical Musings, Health Hypotheses & Therapeutic Thoughts
A carer is defined as someone who “provides unpaid personal care, support and assistance to another individual who needs it because that other individual... …has a disability; [or] a medical condition (including a terminal or chronic illness); [or] has a mental illness; [or] is frail and aged” (1)
Research from Carers Australia indicates that in 2015 there were around 2.7 million unpaid carers in Australia; and, if we are not one ourselves, we know one. Someone living with mum to lend a hand, those with disabled (one way or another) friends or relatives.(2)
Consequences of these factors may include increased heart rate/pressure, insomnia, breathing problems, higher levels of arthritis than the general population, long-term back problems (more on this in a bit), diabetes, mobility problems, and even heart disease, chronic fatigue and/or mental health issues (3)
This last one is especially problematic. According to a survey carried out by Carer’s UK, 54% of respondents indicated they had suffered depression as a result of caring (4); they also felt more anxious (77%) and more stressed (83%) because of their caring role. While a self-reported survey is hardly rigorous research, it is a concerning result.
The GP Patient Survey (2015) reported that 63% of all carers said they had suffered physical ill health as a result. Looking at carers who cared for 50 hours a week or more, the number with a long-standing health condition rose to 70% (compared to 51% for non-carers) (ibid).
So caring for others takes its toll, physical and mental/emotional. To make sure we can best care for our loved ones, we need to make sure we take care of ourselves, too!
Physical issues resulting from caring
Book an appointment with your osteopath today to have a full assessment of how your body is trying to cope with the demands you place on it, and how that can be as efficient as possible.
(1) Carer Recognition Act 2010 (Part 1, Section 5) https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/C2010A00123/Html/Text#_Toc276377310
(2) Australian Bureau of Statistics (2015) Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers
(3) NHS England GP Patient Survey 2015
(4) Carers UK (2015) State of Caring 2015