Caregiver Stress: It’s Real, and Its Impact Can Be Severe; How to Avoid the Epidemic
June 7, 2010
‘I’m so stressed out!’ ‘I just can’t take it anymore!’
Certainly, almost all of us have made one, or both, of these proclamations in response to any number of events that have occurred in our lives. Take a moment now to think of how you felt during those moments, and you will get a glimpse into the daily lives of our nation’s family caregivers.
Approximately 44 million Americans (21% of the adult population) provide unpaid care to someone in need. While most people think that nursing homes provide the majority of long-term care, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimates that informal caregivers actually provide 80% of the long-term care in the U.S. As our population continues to age, demands for care will steadily increase, and caregiver stress, unless recognized and remedied, will become even more pervasive.
A caregiver is anyone who helps another person in need with daily tasks, such as bathing, cooking, eating, taking medications, dressing, using the bathroom, shopping, housecleaning, and the like. Typically, the person receiving care has a medical condition that makes them unable to perform these tasks for themselves, or at least without some assistance. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 61% of our nation’s caregivers are women. Our nation’s caregivers are mostly middle-aged, with 13% of caregivers being 65 years old or older.
Caregiver stress is real, and its impact can be severe. …
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by: Gina M. Barry
June 7, 2010