Caregivers Experience Financial, Emotional Hardships, Report Finds
Californians working as caregivers for friends or relatives who are elderly or have disabilities face emotional and financial pressures that likely will increase because of budget cuts to state health care programs, according to a report from the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, the Riverside Press-Enterprise reports.
For the report, researchers analyzed 2009 California health survey data.
The researchers found that compared with the general population, California's estimated six million caregivers have higher levels of serious psychological distress, such as depression, and harmful health habits, such as smoking.
Caregivers between ages 45 and 64 particularly are at risk.
Researchers also found that in California:
- More than one million caregivers reported experiencing moderate or serious emotional distress;
- Caregivers reporting serious psychological distress were more likely to smoke than non-caregivers with serious psychological distress; and
- Middle-age caregiversÂ were more likely to binge drink, smoke or be obese than older caregivers and middle-age people who are not caregivers.
The researchers said that recent cuts to the In-Home Supportive Services program and the planned elimination of the adult day health care program could increase the burden on caregivers, few of whom are paid.
Geoffrey Hoffman, lead author of the study, said there might be an association between care giving and stress that affects the caregiver's overall health.
He added, "These effects on caregivers' overall health merit attention from policymakers" (Hines, Riverside Press-Enterprise, 9/21).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.