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Survey: Busy Caregivers Neglect their Own Health

November 26, 2018

Survey results released last month by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research (AP-NORC) show that caregivers all too frequently neglect their own health care-related appointments, putting the health care needs of a family member or other loved one ahead of their own. In addition, 39 percent of caregivers aged 40 or older reported having their own physical or mental health problem, making it all that much more important for these caregivers to get the health care services they need.

The AP-NORC survey included interviews in English and Spanish conducted online or by phone with 1,024 American adults who were providing long-term care services to a family member or other loved one. The survey responses were collected from June 26 through July 10.

Other survey results indicate:

  • One-third of caregivers went without their own routine physical or dental care appointments, skipped or didn’t schedule a recommended test, or forgot to fill their own prescription
  • Almost 25 percent of the caregivers responding to the survey report that their caregiving duties took at least as much time in their schedule as a full-time job
  • Caregivers under the age of 40 are more likely to delay or stop educational opportunities, cut back on spending for their own health care needs, and report higher rates of loneliness
  • Although most survey respondents reported having a support system in place, they still found the financial and time burdens of caregiving to be a significant challenge
  • Eight in ten caregivers (80%) pay for the costs associated with caregiving out of their own pockets; 13 percent spend more than $500 a month
  • Only a quarter of caregivers talk with their own doctors about the stress of their caregiving responsibilities

As the U.S. population continues to age, the importance of providing support programs for Americans aging at home as well as their caregivers continues to increase. During National Family Caregivers Month and throughout the entire year, it is important to celebrate, recognize, and support caregivers in their efforts.

Through the HAP Patient and Family Advisory Council, HAP works with hospitals, families, and caregivers to improve the patient experience of care, including the experience of older adults aging at home. The council’s diverse group of patients, family members, community leaders, and health care providers provides insight and guidance to HAP and Pennsylvania hospitals seeking to improve patients’ health care experiences.

If you want to make a difference in how health care is experienced by Pennsylvania consumers, consider joining the council. Contact HAP’s Project Manager, Janette Bisbee, for more information.  

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