Caregiver Health And Stress: The Unsettling Facts
More than one in ten Americans provides unpaid care to an elderly family or friend. Thousands of research have found that this huge group is at danger of emotional and physical health repercussions over the last three decades. In fact, one of the most common reasons for families seeking assisted living is caregiver health.
Be conscious of the mental and physical health repercussions if you are caring for an elderly relative or spouse. Learn about health and stress issues that affect family caregivers, as well as tools to help you manage caregiving and your own health.
Effects of caregiving responsibilities on mental and physical health
Caregiving has been shown to have a negative impact on emotional and physical well-being, leading to chronic illnesses and increased despair and anxiety, according to research.
Facts about Caregivers with chronic Health conditions
According to AARP’s 2020 Caregiving in the United States survey, only four out of ten caregivers would rate their health as “excellent or very good.” This is a considerable decrease from the 48% of caregivers who said they were in excellent health in 2015.
Medical statistics support up caregivers’ self-reported bad health: 53% of caregivers have been diagnosed with two or more chronic diseases, such as heart disease, renal disease, or diabetes. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this is 14% higher than the general adult population in the United States (CDC). These chronic illnesses shorten the life expectancy of caregivers.
Stress and depression among caregivers
According to a 2018 study done by Maastricht University in the Netherlands, family members who provide 20 hours or more of caregiver support per week have greater melancholy and psychological discomfort, decreased self-care, and worse self-reported health.
If I got hurt, I didn’t know who would take care of her.–Jim Colozzo, author and former family caregiver
Increased caregiver stress levels are closely related to declining health of elderly loved ones. As a result, caregiver stress tends to rise as their relative becomes older.
Statistics on caregivers’ health
- According to the CDC, the vast majority of caregivers experience stress, despair, and emotional issues at least twice a month. Surprisingly, approximately 15% of people say they get these symptoms at least 14 days a month.
- Almost one-fifth of those surveyed said they have 14 or more days of poor physical health per month.
- More than half of caregivers believe their capacity to provide care is harmed by a decline in their health.
- Caregivers of dementia patients report increased stress, health issues, and caregiver burnout than caregivers of non-dementia patients.
- According to a survey conducted by SCAN Health, nearly half of respondents are concerned about the physical difficulties associated with caregiving, while 44 percent are concerned about the mental pressures.
Discover: 10 Vital Healthy Tips For Caregivers
Statistics on caregiver responsibilities
According to the findings of the SCAN survey, a year-long study of 1,000 senior caregivers conducted in 2017, caring is frequently accompanied with guilt
- 82 percent of caregivers had difficulties saying “no” to the task.
- 54 percent of caregivers feel guilty about taking time away from their responsibilities to care for themselves.
- 29 percent spend 40 hours or more a week caring for someone, resulting in sleep deprivation and poor work performance.
- 44% believe their loved one would be unable to find someone else to care for them.
Public resources for caregivers
There are several tools available to help alleviate the financial and physical load of senior caregiving, in addition to online and in-person support groups:
- Veterans who qualify for VA Aid and Attendance benefits may be able to pay a family caregiver or hire in-home care.
- A list of long-term care resources from state and local governments is available online from the Department of Health and Human Services.
- For caregivers’ health, well-being, and financial issues, the federal government provides resources.
- Even if your relative does not qualify for Medicaid, you may be able to earn compensated to be a family caregiver in some states.
Support for caregiver Burnout
Check out these online tools if you’re having trouble taking care of yourself while caring for an aging loved one:
- With this list of best senior housing choices, you may learn about the advantages of asking for help.
- With these caregiver support groups, you can connect with individuals who understand what you’re going through.
- This caregiver bill of rights will provide you with reassurance.
- Use these free applications to help you manage your everyday caring responsibilities.
AARP. Caregiving in the U.S.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Caregiving for Family and Friends — A Public Health Issue https://www.cdc.gov/aging/agingdata/docs/caregiver-brief-508.pdf
Maastricht University. Population Characteristics and Needs of Informal Caregivers Associated With the Risk of Perceiving a High Burden: A Cross-Sectional Study. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5977419/
Berkeley University of California. Dementia Patients May Die Sooner if Family Caregivers are Mentally Stressed. https://news.berkeley.edu/2017/06/26/caregiver-mentalstress/