Caregiving hurts health, costs sleep

April 30, 2012 at 12:48 AM
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ROCHESTER, N.Y., April 30 (UPI) -- Seventy-five percent of U.S. adults who provide caregiving to a family member say it's hurt their health and 60 percent say it's cut sleep, a survey says.

The survey, conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of the American Academy of Family Physicians in March, looked at both the impact of caregiving and caregivers' need for credible information about their family members' changing health needs and how to balance caregiving with other responsibilities.

The survey also found:

-- 88 percent of caregivers felt one or more stressors associated with caregiving.

-- 52 percent said their caregiving responsibilities caused them to neglect their other responsibilities such as meeting their own health needs, running errands, caring for their home and spending time with other family and friends at least sometimes.

-- 63 percent of caregivers who manage the health of those they provide care for sought information from their physician or healthcare provider.

-- 57 percent sought information on the Internet.

-- 56 percent of caregivers felt there was no single online resource for highly credible health information on caregiving.

Dr. Glen Stream of the the American Academy of Family Physicians said understanding caregivers' need for timely and practical information, the academy's consumer health Web site, FamilyDoctor.org, has significantly expanded information on its seniors page for caregivers.

This survey was conducted online by Harris Interactive for American Academy of Family Physicians from March 5-7, of 2,238 adults -- 448 are seniors aged 65 and older and 241 are caregivers.

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