Friends and Caregivers
Support for Caregivers
|"Surprise" by Lilly Reeves|
Support for Caregivers, Family Members and Friends
Most caregivers for people who have mental health disorders are family members or friends who check in on a person periodically. When caregiving duties become overwhelming, they can leave a person feeling stressed, guilty or worried about handling future caregiving. For caregivers who also work, Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) may provide helpful stress management counseling, legal resources or financial management resources that could prove to be helpful.
What is a caregiver?
A caregiver is anyone who provides help to another person in need. Usually, the person receiving care has a condition such as dementia, cancer or brain injury, and needs help with basic daily tasks. Caregivers help with many things, such as:
- grocery shopping
- house cleaning
- paying bills
- giving medicine
- using the toilet
People who are not paid to provide care are known as informal caregivers or family caregivers. The most common type of informal caregiving relationship is an adult child caring for an elderly parent. Other types of caregiving relationships include:
- adults caring for other relatives, such as grandparents, siblings, aunts and uncles
- spouses caring for elderly husbands or wives
- middle-aged parents caring for severely disabled adult children
- adults caring for friends and neighbors
- children caring for a disabled parent or elderly grandparent
Who are our nation’s caregivers?
Most Americans will be informal caregivers at some point during their lives. During any given year, there are more than 50 million Americans (21% of the adult population) who provide unpaid care to an elderly or disabled person age 18 years or older. Altogether, informal caregivers provide 80 percent of the long-term care in the United States. (View the latest U.S. population statistics by clicking here.)
- Sixty-one percent of caregivers are women.
- Most caregivers are middle-aged.
- Thirteen percent of caregivers are age 65 years and older.
- Fifty-nine percent of informal caregivers have jobs in addition to caring for another person. Because of time spent caregiving, more than half of employed women caregivers have made changes at work, such as going in late, leaving early or working fewer hours.
LAST UPDATED 02012013 08.48