Family caregiver tip of the month

If you are a family caregiver and have been feeling as if you are particularly stressed out by all the duties and responsibilities that come with your role, you are not alone. Here are some facts about caregiver stress from

40% of caregivers have been providing care for five or more years.

Working women with caregiver roles are 2.5 times more likely to live in poverty when they become elderly compared to women who have not been caregivers during their lifetime.

Long distance caregivers spend an average of $392 per month on travel and out-of-pocket expenses as part of their caregiving duties.

Approximately one third of caregivers provide intensive care although they are themselves in “fair to poor” physical health.

Spousal caregivers age 66 to 96 who experience caregiving-related stress have a 63% higher mortality rate than non-caregivers of the same age.

Two thirds of working caregivers caring for someone age 65+ have to rearrange their work schedule, decrease their hours, or take unpaid leave to meet their caregiving responsibilities.

Female caregivers are more likely to suffer from anxiety, depression and other symptoms associated with emotional stress due to caregiving.

20% to 50% of caregivers report depressive disorders or symptoms.

An informal caregiver (unpaid) is estimated to lose an average of $25,494 in Social Security benefits.

Over 40% of caregivers have been providing assistance for five or more years, and nearly 20% have been doing so for 10 or more years.

What can you do?

Ask for help. Asking for support may seem obvious, but people are often hesitant to ask, for fear of being a burden. However, more often than not, family and friends are eager to help, even if it is just for a short time. Make a list of things you need help with and have your family and friends choose what they can help with. People typically respond favorable to concrete tasks.

Take a break from work. Ask for some time off at the job. Block time off for a vacation. Get temporary help to get back on your feet. Take time to rest and rejuvenate your body.

Talk to friends and family. The life of a caregiver can be lonely. Isolation is sometimes part of the job. Making an effort to stay in contact with friends and family can go a long way to reduce stress levels.

The Kenai Peninsula Family Caregiver Support Program is here to help. Call 907- 262-1280.

Dani Kebschull is Program Coordinator for the Kenai Peninsula Family Caregiver Support Program.

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