The More You Care, the More You Stress

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The More You Care, the More You Stress

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book-631760_640National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP released research today ("Caregiving in the U.S. 2015") which took a closer look at:

  • The prevalence of family caregivers in the United States;

  • Demographic characteristics of family caregivers and carees;

  • The family caregiver’s situation in terms of the nature of caregiving activities, the intensity and duration of care, the health conditions and living situation of;

  • the person to whom care is provided, and other unpaid and paid help
    provided;

  • How caregiving affects family caregiver stress, strain, and health;

  • Information needs related to caregiving;

  • Public policy and caregiver support.


According to the research, an estimated 43.5 million adults in the United States have provided unpaid care to an adult or a child in the prior 12 months. 60% of family caregivers are women; 40% are men. Almost 25% of America’s family caregivers are millennials between the ages of 18 and 34 and are equally likely to be male or female. Family caregivers ages 75 or older typically providing care without paid help or help from relatives and friends. The typical higher-hour family caregiver (who provides unpaid care for at least 21 hours a week) has been caregiving for an average of five-and-a-half years and expects to continue caring for another five years. Nearly half of these higher-hour family caregivers report a higher emotional stress (46%), about 8% greater than other family caregivers who wrack up fewer caregiving hours each week.

With an average household income of $45,700, family caregivers report not only emotional strain, but financial strain. Higher-hour family caregivers report difficulty in finding affordable caregiving services, such as delivered meals, transportation, or in-home health services, in the community for themselves and their carees. Family caregivers who live more than an hour away from their carees also report higher levels of financial strain (21%), perhaps because 4 out of 10 long-distance caregivers report the use of paid help (41%).

According to the survey, family caregivers would like to be noted as such in the medical records of the caree. They also would like respite care, as well as access to resources and tools to assist them with managing stress and to enable the caree to live at home.

To learn more about the study and read the entire results, go to www.caregiving.org/caregiving2015/ or www.aarp.org/caregivingintheus.

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