OMAHA, Neb., May 20, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The Home Instead Senior Care® network, the leading global provider of in-home non-medical care services for seniors, today announced the release of two new resources that aim to help family caregivers determine their risk for caregiver distress, and to minimize key health effects that are associated with caregiver distress, a condition that may arise from the pressures of caring for a senior loved one.
According to The Family Caregiver Alliance, family reported chronic conditions, including heart disease, cancer and diabetes at nearly twice the rate (45 percent vs. 24 percent) of non-family caregivers. In addition, studies increasingly indicate caregiving as a leading stressor for families. One U.S. study reveals that 52.8 percent of those caring for individuals with diseases including cancer or Alzheimer's had scores indicating depression.*
As a response to this growing national issue, Home Instead Senior Care® launched two new tools: The Are You a Caregiver Quiz, which is designed to help a family caregiver self-identify and recognize the role of caregiver, and the Family Caregiver Distress Assessment, adapted for the Home Instead Senior Care network by Dr. Peter Vitaliano of the University of Washington. The assessment allows caregivers to determine their risk for distress and resulting emotional and physical issues, including depression, heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity. Resources are part of the Family Caregiver Stress Relief SM public awareness campaign at FamilyCaregiverStressRelief.com.
"So many spouses and adult children are unaware of their potential risk of caregiver distress because they don't see themselves as caregivers," said Jeff Huber, President and Chief Operating Officer, Home Instead Senior Care. "These new resources enable them to understand their role, the stresses they may face as a caregiver and how that stress might lead to more serious health effects."
A recent Home Instead Senior Care study discovered that caregivers are prone to hiding their emotions and, as a result, their health suffers. Approximately 74 percent of caregivers who hide their feelings report fatigue, 53 percent report difficulty sleeping, 37 percent report depression and 30 percent weight gain or loss.
Research shows that certain characteristics make family caregivers more vulnerable to caregiver distress, the top being:
- Gender: Women report more psychological distress than men (however, male caregivers have more negative physiological responses to caregiving, including higher blood sugar and insulin levels, poorer cholesterol and immune function and obesity).
- Reluctance to ask for help: Caregivers who won't ask for help are setting themselves up for the kind of exhaustion that can lead to distress.
- Chronic Illness: Caregivers who are already sick or have existing medical conditions, such as coronary disease, hypertension and cancer, are more vulnerable to additional negative health effects resulting from caregiver stress.
"It's important for caregivers to understand that stress can impact one's ability to care. If they don't care for themselves, they may put their senior loved ones at risk. Whether it's support groups, stress management techniques or respite help, caregivers need to realize the importance of managing their health, too," said Huber.
For more information on caregiver distress, and to access the online quiz and assessment tool, visit FamilyCaregiverStressRelief.com.
* Papastavrou, E., Charalambous, A., Tsangari, H., & Karayiannis, G. (2012). The burdensome and depressive experience of caring: What cancer, schizophrenia, and Alzheimer's disease caregivers have in common; online at http://ktisis.cut.ac.cy/handle/10488/6053
ABOUT HOME INSTEAD SENIOR CARE®
Founded in 1994 in Omaha, Nebraska by Lori and Paul Hogan, the Home Instead Senior Care® network is the world's largest provider of non-medical in-home care services for seniors, with nearly 1,000 independently owned and operated franchises providing in excess of 45 million hours of care throughout the United States, Canada, Japan, Portugal, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, the United Kingdom, Taiwan, Switzerland, Germany, South Korea, Finland, Austria, Italy, Puerto Rico, the Netherlands and Mexico. Local Home Instead Senior Care offices employ more than 65,000 CAREGiversSM worldwide who provide basic support services – assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs), personal care, medication reminders, meal preparation, light housekeeping, errands, incidental transportation and shopping – which enable seniors to live safely and comfortably in their own homes for as long as possible. In addition, CAREGivers are trained in the network's groundbreaking Alzheimer's Disease or Other Dementias CARE: Changing Aging Through Research and Education® Program to work with seniors who suffer from these conditions. This world class curriculum is also available free to family caregivers online or through local Home Instead Senior Care offices. At Home Instead Senior Care network, it's relationship before task, while continuing to provide superior quality service that enhances the lives of seniors everywhere.
SOURCE Home Instead Senior Care