Home Care Aides Cheyenne WY
Taking Care of Caregiversby Robert P. Dwyer, Ph.D., Executive Director, Central Massachusetts Agency on Aging
It seems that everywhere you look, there are articles about caregiving. In fact, within the last couple of years, whole magazines and even non-profit organizations have "popped-up" around the issues of caregiving and services for seniors. Magazines such as "New Lifestyles" offer invaluable information around housing and long-term residential services for frail and disabled elders.
According to information released by the National Family Caregivers Association (see http://www.nfcacares.org/ ):
- More than one quarter (26.6%) of the adult population has provided care for a chronically ill, disabled or aged family member or friend during the past year. Based on current census data, that translates into more than 50 million people.
- Caregiving is no longer predominantly a women's issue. Men now make up 44% of the caregiving population.
- The value of the services family caregivers provide for "free" is estimated to be $257 billion a year.
- Virtually one half of the USpopulation has a chronic condition. Of these 41 million were limited in their daily activities. Twelve million are unable to go to school, to work, or to live independently.
- People over 85 years of age are the fastest growing segment of the population. Half of them need some help with personal care.
- Elderly caregivers with a history of chronic illness themselves who are experiencing caregiving related stress have a 63% higher mortality rate than their non-caregiving peers.
- The pool of family caregivers is dwindling. In 1990 there were 11 potential caregivers for each person needing care. In 2050 that ratio will be 4:1.
- Sixty-one percent (61%) of "intense" family caregivers (those providing at least 21 hours of care a week) have suffered from depression. Some studies have shown that caregiver stress inhibits healing.
- Heavy duty caregivers, especially spousal caregivers, do not get consistent help from other family members. One study has shown that as many as 3/4 of these caregivers are "doing it alone".
- Approximately 80% of home care services are provided by family caregivers.
- A recent study calculated that American businesses loses between $11 billion and $29 billion each year due to employees’ need to care for loved ones 50 years of age and older.
- Fifty nine percent of the adult population either is or expects to be a family caregiver.
What caregivers need is education on caregiving, respite services, and training on how to deal with various diseases and behaviors. In fact, at the outset, caregivers need to know that they are, indeed caregivers. Whether they are family members, friends or simply neighbors, many of us care for someone else without realizing that we take on that caregiving role.
The reality is that caregiving is often hard work. In addition, many caregivers work full or part...