When Caregivers Need Care

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THURSDAY, March 16 (HealthDay News) — An estimated 44 million Americans serve as unpaid caregivers for elderly or disabled family members.

And the number is growing, rather than decreasing, as policy veers sharply toward more home and community-based care, rather than institutionalization.

The one factor that gets lost in this equation, however, are the caregivers themselves. What needs do they have? How can they juggle at-home and at-work roles? How can they manage or prevent stress and accompanying health problems?

“Taking care of people with severe physical and cognitive disabilities can have very serious consequences for caregivers in terms of their own health, both physical and emotional,” said Mary Jo Gibson, senior policy advisor at AARP’s Public Policy Institute. “They often have a need for support groups and support services. They can be juggling multiple roles at home and at the workplace.”

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