The Unexpected Toll of Being a Family Caregiver

Family Caregiver Burnout and Caregiver Stress

Why is Caregiver Stress so Widespread?

  • 82% of caregivers have difficulty saying “no” to the job.
  • 54% feel guilty about taking a break from their caregiver duties to make time for themselves.
  • 29% spend 40 hours a week or more caring for someone, leading to lack of sleep and poor professional performance.
  • 44% don’t think their loved one would be able to find someone else to provide care.

What Effects Does Caregiver Stress Have on the Family Caregiver?

Caregiving’s Emotional Toll

  • The vast majority of caregivers report experiencing stress, depression, and emotional problems at least twice a month, according to the CDC. And, nearly 15% report experiencing these conditions at least 14 days a month.
  • Between 40 to 70% of caregivers suffer from depression, while many caregivers also have anxiety.
  • Anger and irritability are also common symptoms of caregiver stress syndrome.

The Physical Toll

  • Only four in 10 caregivers would rate their health as “excellent or very good,” according to AARP’s 2020 Caregiving in the U.S. survey. This is down from studies five years ago, showing this problem is only getting worse.
  • Almost 18% report experiencing 14 or more days of poor physical health each month.
  • Caregivers have a 23% higher level of stress hormones and 15% lower level of antibody responses than non-caregivers.
  • More than half of caregivers say a decline in their health affects their ability to provide care.
  • Caregivers between the ages of 66 and 96 have a 63% higher mortality rate than non-caregivers of the same age.

Factors in Caregiver Stress

Dementia Caregiving

Other Significant Variables

  • The care recipient’s behavior problems
  • Functional disabilities
  • The duration and amount of care provided
  • Vigilance demands (care recipient who needs round-the-clock care/supervision, for example)
  • Living together
  • Relationship between caregiver and care recipient, with spouses experiencing greater average stress
  • The caregiver’s gender, with females being more affected

Support

What are some of the key resources for caregiver support?

1. Uncertainty and the need for high vigilance

Solution: Get a comprehensive assessment and use care technology.

2. The duration and amount of care needed — doing it all

Solution: Take a break with respite care.

3. Dementia Caregiving

Solution: Lessen the learning curve with help from experts.

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