By AmeriCare, August 8, 2012
Caring for an elderly, or chronically ill family member can be rewarding. But it can also be one of the most demanding, and stress inducing roles in the world, which is why accepting help from friends, family, or home care providers, is so important. The demands of being a family caregiver often lead to depression, so there have been numerous studies to help understand the causes and impact of caregiver stress.
Before we can treat the symptoms of stress caused by family caregiving, we must first understand what causes it. Here are some statistics pulled from several studies:
At least half of caregivers work while providing care, according to a 2010 report from the Center for Health Research. Caregivers fill many demanding roles, juggling between caregiver, employee, parent, and spouse. When caregivers are overwhelmed by these roles, a condition called role fatigue, the first role they drop is usually their jobs. This relieves the role fatigue, but increases stress related to financial stability.
Caregivers spend an average of $5,500 out of pocket for caregiving needs each year, according to a 2008 update from the AARP Public Policy Institute. The amount is even higher ($8,700) for long-distance caregivers. This money usually comes out of the caregivers’ own savings account.
One third of all caregivers experience depression, according to a 2009 MEDSURG Nursing article. Depression is a serious psychological condition and can lead to caregiver burnout.
The impact of social isolation on caregivers’ health is comparable to that of smoking, according to a 2006 article in The Gerontologist. Many caregivers report feeling they are alone. Feelings of isolation and reduced social interaction increase mortality.
Caregivers have higher mortality and other adverse health outcomes than non-caregivers, according to a 2006 article in Psychological Bulletin. When you look at the facts about the stress and challenges caregivers face, this isn’t surprising.
Fortunately, there is much one can do to counteract the stresses of caregiving. The first step is knowing that you’re not alone. Feel free to contact us at any time to discuss our senior care, or in-home care services. Our network of compassionate caregivers is always available to help provide the support you need. And in our next installment, we’ll provide several tips to help minimize the stress from providing family care.