Queen Creek, Arizona (PressExposure) April 05, 2013 -- Suddenly a Caregiver shares one family's experience and the lessons learned to help those facing the unexpected responsibility of becoming a family caregiver. In a single day, the author became the primary caregiver for a patient who was diagnosed with glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) - a stage 4 brain cancer. The author received a crash course for the new responsibility and shares the learning on a variety of topics including advocacy, caregiver concerns, organizational helpers, grieving, and information about coping with the new responsibility.
The National Alliance for Caregiving routinely conducts research to gather statistics related to caregiving in the United States (National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP, 2009). The organization published the most recent report of their findings in November 2009. Nearly 66 million people provided unpaid caregiving services and accounted for about 32% of households. Women assume the caregiving role more frequently than men as female caregivers account for about 66% of the total. About 70% of caregivers care for someone 50 years of age or older. Only about 14% care for someone between the ages of 18 and 49 years. Likewise, about 14% care for children under the age of 18. Caring for someone with cancer affected about 7% of the caregivers. Over 50% of caregivers are between the ages of 18 and 49.
The report stated that caregivers provide care for about 20 hours per week, when not residing with the care recipient. The hours increase to nearly 40 hours per week when the caregiver resides with the care recipient. About 68% of caregivers stated that other caregivers also contributed to the care but the primary caregivers provide nearly all of the unpaid care. About 17% of the caregivers reported a decline in their own health since the start of the caregiving.
Only 20% of caregivers reported that they received formal training to perform their caregiving duties. About three-quarters of the caregivers needed more help and information about caregiver topics. The most popular information requests included keeping the care recipient safe (37%), managing stress (34%), and activities with the care recipient (34%), and finding time for themselves (32%).