Unpaid caregivers feel their health suffers from burden

Published Nov 26, 2017 at 9:00am

Results of an international survey detailed the overwhelming physical, emotional and financial burden faced by unpaid caregivers in the U.S.

Alarmingly, nearly half, or 45 percent, of unpaid caregivers surveyed feel their physical health has suffered as a result of their caregiver duties.

Key survey findings include:

• Nearly half (45 percent) of unpaid caregivers surveyed in the U.S. don’t often have time to book or attend medical appointments for themselves. This is particularly concerning considering older caregivers, who often face chronic health conditions themselves: 86 percent of unpaid caregivers surveyed aged 66-75 care for someone aged 65 and over.

• Nearly half, 49 percent, of unpaid caregivers surveyed in the U.S. have feelings of depression with a similar amount (48 percent) feeling that they needed medical care/support for a mental health condition such as depression, anxiety and stress due to their role as an unpaid caregiver. Of these nearly a quarter (20 percent) have not sought medical help.

• Forty-one percent of female unpaid caregivers surveyed in the U.S. feel being a caregiver has put pressure on their financial situation, as compared to 28 percent of male caregivers.

The survey, released to raise awareness during National Family Caregiver Month, kicks off an international Embracing Carers initiative led by EMD Serono.

The Embracing Carers online survey was conducted by Censuswide on behalf of Merck KGaA Darmstadt, Germany. It questioned 3,516 unpaid/unprofessional caregivers aged 18-75 years including 2,106 respondents aged 35-55 in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, U.K. and the U.S. between July 27 and Aug. 8 of this year. 

Respondents conducted the survey online and were asked a number of screening questions to ensure that only unpaid, unprofessional caregivers participated in the survey.