and Caring for the Caregiver
Facts About Caregivers
there are about 18-25 million
family caregivers in the U.S. (that’s about 10-15% of the adult population
1 of every 4 households in
the U.S. is involved in caregiving (22.4 million households)
56% of caregivers are female,
44% are male
the average age of caregivers
is 57-60 years old
1/3 to 2/3 of family caregivers
are employed full-time or part-time outside the home in addition to their caregiving responsibilities
80% of caregivers provide
unpaid assistance 7 days a week
average number of hours caregivers
provide care is 73 hours per week
The “Sandwich Generation”
Between 20% and 40% of caregivers have children
under the age of 18 to care for on top of their other caregiving responsibilities…so these individuals find themselves
caring for their parents and their children…
Pattern of Caregiving
Caregiver roles may often be assigned to family
members with the fewest competing responsbilities, including obligations to spouses, children,a nd employees. Often the spouse,
then daughter, and son (including son’s spouse) are the individuals involved primarily in the patient’s care.
What is stress?
When someone is subjected to pressure or strain.
It can occur when you have been diagnosed with a medical illness, when you have financial difficuties, or when you are called
upon to care for someone else suffering from medical or mental difficulties.
Caregivers tend to take care fo themselves
last and tend to deny their feelings and needs in the face of other people’s needs. These behaviors can lead to burnout
on the job, dysfunctionin in one’s personal life, and exacerbation of grief over previously denied or unresolved losses.
What are the common causes
Prolonged periods of injury
Changes experienced by our
loved ones, such as changes in behavior, physical capabilities, thinking skills, and mood/emotions.
Changes in our roles when something
changes dramatically or suddenly.
A significant in one’s
Worry about your loved one’s
recovery or ability to return to their former level of functioning.
Difficulties obtaining needed medical care or services.
Stress can cause or lead
Trouble thinking and solving
Problems with your physical
health, such as heart problems, poor digestion, and sleep difficulties.
Feelings of hopelessness, sadness,
Anxiety or nervousness.
Relationship problems with
you spouse, parents, children, or friends.
Irritability, loss of your
temper, impatience, and a desire to withdraw from social interactions.
External Stressors can
lead to internal stress reactions…
External Stressors (Life events, Environment, Loss,
Stress Reactions (Nervous system, Immune system, increased blood pressure, increased pulse
rate, Sleep problems, Anxiety, Depression, Muscle tension)
Coping Effectively with Loss and Change:
Allow yourself time to adjust.
Don’t be hard on yourself.
Realize that your feelings
are a normal response to a new, and possibly difficult, situation.
Be patient with yourself
Don’t give up on reaching
Realize that it is normal
to be worried or focus on the negative.
Focus on what your loved
one can do rather than on what they can’t do.
Take one step at a time.
Set small goals that can
be achieved more easily or more quickly.
Avoid thinking about the
way that things used to be.
Give up some old responsibilities
when you need to take on new responsibilities.
Remain active and set aside
time to do things that you enjoy.
Join a support group. Others
in a similar situation will offer a great support system and may have good
suggestions for dealing with
Try to do something fun regularly
with you loved one.
Talk to and spend time with
people who care about you.
Ask for help when you need
Give yourself regular breaks
from caregiving activities.
Discuss your concerns with
Learn about other resources
for information and assistance.
to care for yourself so that you can care for your loved one.
Coping Strategies Handout (in PDF format)
Strategies that may be used:
Relaxation Strategies Handout
Exercises Handout (in PDF format)
Relaxation Exercises Handout (in PDF format)
Steps to Relaxation
Handout (in PDF format)
Family Caregiver Alliance – This site
offers caregiving information and advice. It contains fact sheets and publications.
The Family Village – A global community
of disability-related resources.
Invisible Disabilities Advocate
American Association for Caregiver Education
Brain Injury Association of America
National Family Caregiver’s Association
Virtual World Congress & Exposition on
Other websites of interest:
The Caregiver’s Handbook
Disability Information and Referral Service
National Adult Day Services Association
(866) 890-7357 www.nadsa.org
Disclaimer: Information listed above is not an endorsement of offered services
but merely presented for informational purposes only.