Caregiver Mental Health During COVID-19

AARP recently released findings of a study that analyzed over 236,000 cases of individuals diagnosed with COVID-19. The study indicates that up to one-third of survivors suffer from psychiatric or neurological illnesses within six months of infection, with 34% of those further diagnosed with mental health or neurological disorders. The most common conditions were mood and anxiety disorders, but it also identified a higher rate of insomnia, dementia, and even encephalitis.

As of August 2, 2021, the Ohio Department of Health reports that 1,131,029 Ohioans have been officially diagnosed with COVID-19.  This means that, potentially, 385,000 Ohioans could be struggling with these serious, life-altering illnesses due to the disease.  This doesn’t even account for the “undiagnosed” cases or the completely asymptomatic individuals who may not have known they were infected.  What it also doesn’t account for is the mental health impact on loved ones that have not contracted the disease. The study highlights an impact of COVID-19 that is well-known to us all, the physical pain, loss, and suffering, but often overshadows the psychological devastation. 

As we move into yet another phase of caution and anxiety regarding the surging delta variant, we must be vigilant to care for ourselves physically and mentally as much as we care for our loved ones, our friends, and our colleagues.  In our experience working with caregivers, some of the most important advice we give is that the caregiver must first take care of themselves, before providing care to a loved one.  It may not feel like it but caring for oneself may be the highest form of grace, compassion, and love one can give to others, because it is what enables us to share our true humanity. Whether you are caring for an elderly loved one who needs long-term care, exploring asset protection and Medicaid options, raising a child with special needs, or providing peace and protection for your family through estate planning, this pandemic has magnified existing stresses and added what sometimes feels like more than we can handle. 

Yet, with every family we advise, every individual we protect, every victory we share, and every loss we experience together, I’m heartened to truly realize the truth of what has now become a pandemic cliché:  We Are All in This Together.  From all of us at Hickman & Lowder, we understand what you are dealing with and invite you to give us a call, we are ready to listen. 

AARP Article

Posted in Articles: Elders and Their Caregivers, Blog, Caregiving, Elder Law, Older Adults, Wellness.