FYI Daily

Yes, Caregiving Is Stressful"¦But Maybe It's Also Good for You

Last updated: Oct 13, 2011

heart of red

Talk about silver linings: Caregivers live longer, walk faster, have better grip strength, and do better on memory tests, according to some surprising recent studies, reports Paula Span in the New York Times "The New Old Age" blog.

Usually the benefits of caregiving are measured as psychological or spiritual rewards. More often, research has focused on a drumroll of negatives, like caregivers' higher risk of depression and stress.

Those downsides are still true, obviously. But it's good to know someone's also evaluating the hidden positives. Basically, researchers believe, caregiving keeps you hopping and thinking, as well as fueling a critical sense of meaning and purpose. The trick would seem to find a core of balance, with the help of outside support and really good self care.

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