Posted by: Bert Copple | September 27, 2010

Caring For Caregivers: One in Six Informal Care Providers Are In Distress

One in six people providing informal care to seniors experiences distress, according to a new study released today by the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI), and those caring for seniors with moderate to severe cognitive impairment, such as those with Alzheimer’s or other dementia, are most at risk.

One study looked at more than 130,000 seniors, including many with complex health conditions, who received publicly funded long-term home care in 2007-2008.

98% of these home care clients also relied on an informal caregiver–an adult child, spouse, friend or neighbor who provided emotional support along with assistance in daily living activities, from shopping, transportation and medication assistance to bathing, dressing and feeding.

“Many seniors want to stay in their own homes as they get older, and having a family member or friend provide informal care helps make this possible,” says Nancy White, Manager of Home and Continuing Care Development at CIHI. “The good news is that most informal caregivers do appear to be coping well. While caring for a loved one can be fulfilling, it can also be quite challenging. It is important to identify caregivers who are at risk of burnout, which can result in the senior being institutionalized.”

After adjusting for other factors, the study found cognition problems in home care clients related to memory, understanding and decision-making were most strongly associated with caregiver distress. The odds of a home care client having a distressed caregiver were three times higher when the client had moderate to severe cognitive impairment, most often related to Alzheimer’s or other dementia.

This is more research to show how stressful caregiving can be, and how the caregiver needs help just as the person they are caring for does. Only one company takes as much care if its clients as its CAREGivers, and that it Home Instead Senior Care. Home Instead has developed a very helpful resource at CaregiverStress.com that has helpful tips, a caregiver stress meter, and many educational videos on how to better take care of yourself while caring for a loved one. And if you feel that you are still unable to live your life with reduced stress, Home Instead Senior Care will send a CAREGiver to your loved one’s home so you can have some relaxation time.

Home Instead Senior Care will provide outstanding caregivers to help your loved one with personal care, incidental travel, companionship, medication reminders, light housekeeping, and even meal preparation. To learn more, call 248-203-2273 or visit www.homeinstead.com . Home Instead Senior Care is the world’s trusted source of in-home non-commercial personal care and companionship for seniors. Each franchise is independently owned and operated. And remember, to us, it’s personal.

SOURCE: Canadian Institute For Health Information 

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