The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, found about a third of caregivers have gone without a routine physical or dental care, skipped or didn’t schedule a test or treatment or even forgot to fill a prescription or failed to see a doctor for their own illness or injury because they were too busy with their caregiving duties.
Four in 10 Americans have provided long-term care to an older relative or friend, a volunteer workforce that’s growing as the population ages. The AP-NORC survey found that for nearly a quarter of them, especially caregivers who are over 40, the amount of time spent on caregiving duties is equivalent to a full-time job.
Nearly 40 percent of caregivers have a health problem, physical disability or mental health condition that impacts their daily life or limits their activities, the poll found. More than a quarter of caregivers say it’s difficult to manage their own health along with the caregiving duties. Even more, who have chronic conditions, 40 percent, find it a struggle.
The vast majority of caregivers accompany the person they assist to medical appointments, usually going into the exam rather than staying in the waiting room. Yet fewer than 40 percent gleaned advice on caregiver resources during those visits. Caregivers and their charges “should be treated simultaneously,” said University of Pittsburgh aging specialist Richard Schulz. “They should be looked at as a unit,” because if the caregiver burns out, the patient may have no one left.