Paula Span’s new article on the NYTimes New Old Age Blog discusses the health benefits of caregiving. Could it be that contrary to what we thought we knew, caregiving can also be beneficial to those who care for others, especially when it comes to brain health and memory?
I saw this mixed scenario (benefits and constraints) with my grandfather. When he was actively caring for his girlfriend Linda who had Alzheimers, he was stressed out and seemingly exhausted. On the other hand, his memory could not have been better. He had no choice – he had to remember all appointments, and report back on Linda’s health to doctors and family members on a regular basis. That meant remembering details.
These days, since Linda moved to a care facility, he’s not made to be accountable in the same ways. He’s missing that caregiver benefit, as well as the strain.