Toll of Caregiving is Widespread

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Asking for help when the burden of caring for a loved one gets to be too much isn’t a sign of weakness. Many are faced with that stress.

According to a study, Evercare/National Alliance for Caregiving Study of Caregivers — What They Spend, What They Sacrifice, caregivers reported they were spending on average 35.4 hours a week caring for their loved ones, with 19 percent providing care for more than three years and 32 percent caregiving for more than five years.

To accommodate the caregiving time and expenses they had, study respondents were making the following sacrifices:

  • Cutting back on leisure activities (49 percent) and vacations (47 percent)
  • Saving less or not at all for their children’s future (38 percent);
  • Using their savings (34 percent);
  • Cutting back on basics such as clothing, utilities or transportation (27 percent) and groceries (25 percent); and,
  • Cutting back on personal medical or dental expenses (23 percent).

Here’s an interesting observation from a study participant that will relate to you: “Time is the most expensive commodity I provide – but it has no price tag,” one caregiver wrote in a diary. Despite the sacrifice, caregivers also said it was a commitment they made willingly.

Study respondents reported on the personal and emotional impact which includes:

  • Heightened stress or anxiety (65 percent);
  • Difficulty sleeping (49 percent);
  • Increased financial worries (43 percent);
  • Depression or hopelessness (37 percent), and
  • New or worsening health problems (26 percent).

It is important to care for yourself while caring for an aging loved one.  For articles, videos, resources and special programs on caregiving topics visit CaregiverStress.com.   In addition, you may want to consider respite help to maintain your health and well being.

CAREGivers from Home Instead Senior Care can make a difference in the lives of older adults and their families by providing support with activities of daily living to help keep them independent for as long as possible.  For more information about Home Instead Senior Care visit www.homeinstead.com/greaterpittsburgh or call 1-866-996-1087