New survey from LifeStation provides unique look at the impact of caregiving on current and future caregivers from work, relationships, mental health, and more
Published: Oct. 6, 2021 at 8:45 AM MDT
UNION, N.J., Oct. 6, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — The role of a caregiver is complex, and while heavily focused on the needs of the aging family member or friend they are supporting, there comes a point where an aging loved one’s need for support intersects with a caregiver’s own wellbeing. To shed light on this important conversation, LifeStation, a leading provider of medical alert monitoring systems and connected health solutions for aging seniors and caregivers, today released its first-ever Positive Aging Quotient. The research, which surveyed over 900 Americans over the age of 55 who are current or future caregivers of an older adult, examined the impacts of caregiving responsibilities on everyday life from work to mental health.
They say distance makes the heart grow fonder, but it can prove to be a stressful hurdle for caregivers. The new research unveiled nearly eight in ten (79%) of current caregivers feel stressed in their role, with distance the largest contributing factor, among others including gender and working fulltime. Caregivers who live 2-3 hours away from those they are caring for experience the highest levels of stress, likely due to the need to travel on top of coordinating every-day needs from afar. While gender roles are experiencing a cultural shift, women still bear the brunt of caregiving responsibilities and experience higher stress levels (38%) than men (30%) as a result. However, both genders are expected to contribute to household incomes, leading to much more stress among those who work fulltime (41%) while also balancing these responsibilities, which often can feel like pulling double duty.
To provide real-world perspective and a sense of support to the realities uncovered in the survey, LifeStation has partnered with Denise M. Brown, a professional caregiving coach and author of several caregiving books. Brown founded Caregiving.com in 1996, which she sold in 2020 to focus on training and leadership development programs for family caregivers through her organization, The Caregiving Years Training Academy.
“Finding balance in our lives can be so tricky. When we add caring for a family member or loved one to our already full plate of work, family responsibilities, friendships, and personal hobbies, we really can struggle from the mental and emotional impact,” Brown said. “Thoughtful strategies and helpful support systems can provide peace of mind to all of us who worry whether we do enough to help our family members. Partnering with LifeStation allows me to share my own personal caregiving experiences as well as my professional knowledge to help people as they navigate this life experience.”
Caregivers may navigate changes in their relationship with the aging adult as they work to keep their aging loved one safe while respecting their desire to remain independent. A quarter (25%) have even turned to professional support services like therapists or family counselors to help navigate conversations and situations in their role as caregiver. And while the relationships might be carrying more stress than in the past, ultimately more than one-third (39%) of current caregivers feel their bond with the aging adult in their life has been strengthened.
Additional key findings from the Positive Aging Quotient include:
- The Ability to Work Remotely is Invaluable to Caregivers: The pandemic was the catalyst to change what would have otherwise been years coming, and in some ways, this has been a boon to caregivers. More than three-quarters (78%) of current or future caregivers feel it is important to have the flexibility to work remotely. While nearly half (49%) of respondents feel their employers are very understanding of the need to balance work with caregiving responsibilities, it is an important facet of personal life that employers should be mindful of when creating policies.
- Caregivers Are Planning In Case of More Disruptive Events: To no surprise, almost half (48%) of current caregivers feel the pandemic had an impact on their ability to care for the aging adult in their lives, with 23% noting the outbreaks limited their access to those they provide care for. As a result of the unprecedented times, 97% of these current caregivers feel it is at least moderately important to plan ahead should another disruptive event occur.
- Tech Support is Needed By Caregivers, But Aging Adults are Hesitant: 48% of current caregivers acknowledge that the aging adult they care for could use some way of connecting to others, and nearly two-thirds (60%) feel a buffer like a video monitoring system or medical alert device between them and the aging adult they provide care for would be helpful for care management. This is because half of current caregivers (52%) are being contacted at least once a day with needs or questions from those they provide care for, a factor that contributes to stress levels. However, survey respondents reveal that 70% of the aging adults in their life are not completely comfortable with the latest technology.
“At LifeStation, our mission is to provide support services that integrate seamlessly into the daily lives of seniors to help them live safely and independently. And we also know that caregivers are a key part of the support that seniors receive – our survey showed that more than 8 in 10 current or future caregivers handle or expect to handle at least half of the caregiving responsibilities, and 6 in 10 even expect to handle the majority,” said Laura Aiello, Director of Strategy at LifeStation. “Through examining the mental and emotional burdens of caregivers, we have a better understanding of where there is space for education, but also innovation within our industry, to make sure that the needs of both seniors and caregivers are being met.”
LifeStation is not only a provider of medical alert devices, but is an industry-leading innovator when looking for ways to support both the user and their caregiver.
To learn more about the results of the Positive Aging Quotient, please visit www.lifestation.com/positive-aging-quotient.
From July 20-30, 2021 a survey was conducted by Age of Majority, receiving participation from 903 respondents, all age 55+. This included 500 current caregivers (of an older adult) and 403 self-identified future caregivers (based on the possibility of becoming a caregiver within 5 years).
LifeStation is one of the leading providers of medical alert monitoring and telehealth technology services in the United States. LifeStation’s mission is to leverage innovative technology and services to transform the lives of seniors and help them live safely and independently. Of equal importance is the wellbeing of caregivers and providing them with the peace of mind they need. Learn more about LifeStation by calling 800-446-3300, or visiting www.lifestation.com.
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