The Physical and Emotional Stress of Caregiving with Psoriatic Arthritis

Last updated: December 2023

Caregiving for a family member can have effect on your psoriatic arthritis. In my experience caring for my dad has agitated my PSA. Extra bending, walking, and reaching have caused more inflammation in my joints than average.

Helping my 90 year old dad dress, bathe, keeping up his home is a challenge.

What's involved in doctor's appointment days?

Sometimes our days are full of important doctor's visits for his care. When that happens we are in and out the car a few times and the house. Helping my dad get dressed and undressed for these appointment's is somewhat tricky when we are not at home. Depending on the room size and the layout of the exam room. Often times there are other tests that are needed where Dad is required to change into a gown or shorts.

How does it irritate my psoriatic arthritis?

Recently, we have encountered going for an echocardiogram and ultrasound of his legs to look for blood clots or blocks. Technicians were able to help me to get dad onto the table, in position and back off the table. My muscles and tendons pull in strange ways and it irritates my arthritis. Causing more friction than average by stooping down to lift his legs onto the table. My dad is taller than I am so this is causes me to stand on my tippy toes. I am 4' 10" and Dad is 5'8" which means I am stretching often.

How does laundry put stress on my body?

Dad's house is 5 doors down from my house. We both have steps to our laundry. There are 11 steps totally. Dad can not be left alone so this means that my sister and I are taking turns running up and down with loads of laundry.

What kind of emotional stress do I face?

Stress physically as well as mentally is a huge factor in caregiving. In my case, my father has had former open heart surgery with bypass. He has dementia, and type 2 diabetes that is not controlled well. Worrying about his healthcare can be overwhelming. Even though I was a medical professional when I was younger when the patient is your family member it's very hard to separate the emotions from what you know is happening in the decline.

After the echo and ultrasound we were told that our father has congestive heart failure now. Having an additional diagnosis possibly means more to coordinate with physicians and medications. All this adds to my plate.

How do I manage my health in tandem?

In order to keep my own health stable I have to set boundaries for myself. Most of this is being met because my brother and sister are helping with his care. My personal mental health requires me to take downtime. Days where I rest. What I recently learned was that I have to take care of me too in order to care for him.

Finding and setting boundaries for your pain, goals, and relaxing are all a big part of staying strong for someone else.

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