The New Old Age blog recently shared some research on hidden benefits of caregiving. As a caregiver, I paid attention to this - it seems counter-intuitive because it's an exhausting job. However, some of the tasks are easily connected to the general suggestions that play a role in healthy aging. For example, I get more exercise if I need to get up a few times an hour to retrieve this or that. I stay active, more than I might simply on my own behalf. And negotiating with insurance companies and providers serve to keep me more mentally nimble than I might otherwise be. The final point - I am serving a purpose more vital to me and my partner than any other purpose I can think of.
This is all after a full day of work, and in addition to all the other tasks I perform in my life. I know what I'm doing is vital to the overall health and focus of my household. And I'm fortunate. her illness is intermittent, so there are good periods of respite built in. Many others are not so fortunate.