The realization that a loved one can no longer fully care for him- or herself can be painful for family members. When the boundlessly energetic grandmother or tough-as-nails dad is no longer able to take care of him- or herself in the most basic ways, it can conjure up a whole range of feelings: sadness about the loved one's advanced age, worries about who will care for that family member, even fears about one's own mortality. Caregiver stress -- the physical, mental, emotional, and financial effects of being the primary caregiver for another person -- can also make caring for a loved one unmanageable.
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Crystal Cummings is the System Director of Long-Term Care Services at Schervier Pavilion in Warwick, NY.