Some hidden costs of caregiving — and some ways to combat them.

Caregiving can make you sick

In an article by SmartMoney.com states that caregivers of all ages have a heightened risk for chronic health problems. Among working women 50 and older, 20% of caregivers report just fair or poor health — more than double the number of non-caregivers, the MetLife/NAC study found. And nearly 26% of adult men under the age of 39 say the same, more than three times the rate of non-caregivers in that group. Among the most common chronic health conditions reported at higher rates: diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol. Those — and other related illnesses — can be expensive to treat and because many caregivers are strapped for time, they skip or delay medical care they need. That's particularly true for full-time or nearly-full-time caregivers.

How to combat it

Carve out time for your health needs, consider using an adult day care — they charge about $75 per day — or hire a temporary home health aide once or twice a week. Attend a free or low-cost support group for caregivers to help ward off stress — which exacerbates illness. Find one through the Alzheimer's Association.

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