Elissa Lewen is a licensed psychologist that had a private practice for over 20 years. Before that, she worked with people with developmental disabilities. In the past fourteen years, she has taken over care in-home care for her father-in-law and mother-in-law. Being a home care giver seems to have given her another wonderful goal in life. She started “Nancy House”, a retreat center for caregivers due to most in that position suffering primarily from isolation and exhaustion. But she also found that these effects take a toll on your telomeres:
” Elissa further conducted research (authored by Dr. Elissa Epel) and found that telomeres were stronger in parents with healthier kids than in parents with ill kids. (Telomeres are caps at the ends of chromosome bundles.) At a cellular level the parents with ill children were 10 years older than their counterparts. It was the first study of its kind that marked the physiological effect of stress on the body. All of this ties in to the stress caregivers endure.” – Chestnuthilllocal.com
It just goes to show how the multitude of life’s circumstances can affect our body and how it functions.