As we age as a country and less resources are given to fund the needs of seniors, a lot of friends and family find themselves working for free to take care of seniors. “It’s estimated that nearly 30 percent of the 38.2 million people aged 65 or older in this country receive some form of caregiving, either for health reasons or to help manage daily activities. More than 65 percent of these older individuals rely on family members, friends, and even neighbors for assistance with things like preparing meals, bathing, taking medications, and getting transportation.
Caregiving is a significant public health topic because it affects the health and well-being of both the older adult and his or her caregivers. Recently, a team of researchers examined the various characteristics of people who serve as unpaid caregivers. They also estimated how many people serve in this capacity. The researchers took note of the health-related tasks the caregivers provided, as well as how caregiving affected care providers. The researchers published their findings in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.”
Using information from the 2011 National Health and Aging Trends Study and National Study of Caregiving, the researchers reported that:
- The largest number of caregivers took care of older adults without dementia or a disability.
- Adult children were the largest group of caregivers.
- Many caregivers limited their participation in social activities, such as visiting family and friends or going out for enjoyment, due to caregiving responsibilities.
- Fewer than 5 percent of caregivers attended support groups. A little over 6 percent of caregivers received training, and only about 13 percent used respite care (temporary care sometimes arranged at a healthcare facility to provide short-term relief for a caregiver). The highest proportion of people using these services cared for people with both dementia and disability.”
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