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Study: Family Caregivers Trade Their Health to Care for Loved Ones
Most family caregivers provide unpaid medical aid and other services to loved ones while compromising their own financial, physical and mental health, according to a new study in JAMA Internal Medicine.
An estimated 14.7 million family caregivers aid 7.7 million older adults living in the community. Study lead Jennifer Wolff of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore told Reuters: “There is no silver bullet easy solution to simplify the management of meeting complex care needs – this is an issue that is experienced by individuals but is the result of the fragmented and complex health care system and long-term care system that families often are left navigating without any formal preparation.”
Wolff and her colleagues analyzed data, finding that 6.5 million family and unpaid caregivers provide “substantial assistance” with medical needs, 4.4 million offer some help and 3.8 million don’t handle health care. About half of the caregivers who were surveyed provided aid to an older adult with cognitive impairment such as Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.
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