FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 18, 2006
Contact: Bonnie Lawrence, Family Caregiver Alliance
(415) 434-3388 ext. 312
blawrence (at) caregiver.org
Family Caregiver Alliance Introduces Fact Sheet on Caregiver Health
SAN FRANCISCO—A large and growing body of evidence reveals that providing care for a chronically ill person can have harmful physical, mental, and emotional consequences for the caregiver. As families struggle to care for their loved ones, their own health is jeopardized.
Family Caregiver Alliance has introduced a new Fact Sheet discussing this significant public health issue issue. It describes the impact of caregiving on the mental and physical health of the caregiver, summarizes research from a variety of sources, and offers recommendations from a public policy perspective.
This issue has broad implications. Medical advances, shorter hospital stays, limited discharge planning, and expansion of home care technology have placed increased costs as well as increased care responsibilities on families, who are being asked to shoulder greater care burdens for longer periods of time. To make matters worse, caregivers are more likely to lack health insurance coverage due to time out of the workforce. These burdens and health risks can hinder the caregivers’ ability to provide care, lead to higher health care costs and affect caregivers' quality of life as well as that of the care receivers.
Studies indicate that caregivers:
suffer from high levels of stress and frustration
show higher levels of depression
may exhibit harmful behaviors
are in worse physical health than noncaregivers
may have increased risk of heart disease
have lower levels of self-care
may pay the ultimate price for providing care
The Fact Sheet states that improved recognition and treatment of physical and psychological symptoms among caregivers should be considered a public health priority. Keeping family caregivers healthy and able to provide care is critical to maintaining our nation’s long-term care system and, with the aging of the population, this issue will only grow more important in the coming decades.
This publication is available at no charge on the FCA website by clicking here, or send $2 for each copy to Publication Orders, Family Caregiver Alliance, 180 Montgomery Street, Ste. 1100, San Francisco, CA 94104.
Established in 1977, Family Caregiver Alliance is celebrating its 30th year of service to caregivers. FCA’s pioneering programs--information, education, services, research and advocacy-- support and sustain the important work of families and friends caring for loved ones with chronic, disabling health conditions. The organization offers programs at local, state and national levels. The National Center on Caregiving at Family Caregiver Alliance was established in 2001 to advance the development of high-quality, cost effective programs and policies for caregivers in every state in the country. Visit www.caregiver.org or call (800) 445-8106 for more information.
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