Family Caregivers Suffer on Many Fronts

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Senior_and_Kathy_15.jpgFamily Caregivers Suffer on Many Fronts

From Todd Felker of the Home Instead Senior Care® office in McKinney, TX               

Q.    I have been trying to care for my 91-year-old father from a distance for some time now and I just feel as though my own health is going downhill. I'm getting frightened since I am the main caregiver for my father and I have my own family. What's more, my husband is having surgery soon. I'm not sure where to turn for help.

You're wise to be concerned about your own health. A new study suggests that family and unpaid caregivers who provide substantial help with health care were more likely to miss out on valued activities, have a loss of work productivity and experience emotional, physical and financial difficulties, according to an article published online by JAMA Internal Medicine.

What's more, you're not alone. Nearly eight million older adults with significant disabilities live in the community with help from family and unpaid caregivers. Caregivers not only provide most assistance with everyday activities, but they help with a range of health care activities, including physician visits.

​The study included 1,739 family and unpaid caregivers of 1,171 older adults. The caregivers provided substantial, some or no help with health care, which was defined as coordinating care and managing medications.

Caregivers who provided substantial help with health care were more likely to​

  • Live with older adults
  • Experience emotional, physical and financial difficulty
  • Participate less in valued activities, such as visiting friends and family, going out for fun, attending religious services, and participating in club or group activities
  • Report loss of work productivity
  • Utilize supportive services, although only about one-quarter utilized such services
    ​​​​​​ 

You do need help. Would other family members or friends be willing to assist you, at least part of the time? Could organizations within your community help? Reach out to your local Area Agency on Aging to get a feel for what is available in your vicinity.

Why not contact your local Home Instead Senior Care® office? A Home Instead CAREGiverSM could provide a variety of services including respite care for you and companionship, light housekeeping, medication reminders and meal preparation for your father. Call today to learn more.

​To learn more about your local Home Instead Senior Care office, contact Todd Felker at 972-351-8434 or go to HomeInstead.com/278​. For more about the research, visit http://archinte.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=2491683.     

Each Home Instead Senior Care® franchise office is independently owned and operated. ​

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