A recent AP-NORC Poll shows an alarming trend among Americas caregivers and it’s not good.
According to the survey by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, up to a third of caregivers have put off their own physical and dental care, put off needed tests or treatment and even neglected needed prescriptions - for themselves! All because they were too busy taking care of their loved ones.
The poll states that ‘Four in 10 Americans have provided long-term care to an older relative or friend… and nearly a quarter of them, especially caregivers who are over 40, spend time on caregiving duties equivalent to a full-time job.’
Also noted in the poll:
- "Nearly 40 percent of caregivers have a health problem, physical disability or mental health condition that impacts their daily life or limits their activities."
- "44 percent sleep less [as a result of caregiving], and 17 percent increase alcohol or tobacco use."
- Less than a quarter of caregivers have talked to their personal doctors about their roles.
The caregiver health care crises
When caregivers go to medical appointments with the seniors they care for, the poll found much or most of the time they are not getting information about self-care, support programs or other services which could help them as caregivers during those visits. Why is this the case?
According to University of Pittsburgh aging specialist Richard Schulz ‘The health system marginalizes caregivers partly because there’s no way to bill for assessing caregivers during someone else’s visit, but also because doctors don’t always know what community resources are available to recommend’.
"Caregivers and their charges 'should be treated simultaneously,... 'They should be looked at as a unit,' because if the caregiver burns out, the patient may have no one left." - University of Pittsburgh aging specialist Richard Schulz
The Role of Adult Foster Care Homes To Assist Caregivers
Most states in the U.S. have Adult Foster Care homes or similar senior care homes regulated by the states which provide residential settings with 24-hour personal care, protection, and supervision for individual seniors. And many of those homes offer Adult Day Care for Seniors.
If a caregiver needs a few hours away from caregiving every week, seniors can spend time at an adult day care center. Some adult day care centers are more structured than others with specific times assigned for activities. Other adult day cares are less structured and give their members more time to socialize. This is one valuable option for a caregiver to get the time needed to care for themselves.
By searching our website, or taking advantage of your states government licensing website, you can find Adult Foster Care homes near you that offer day care as well.