HHS Logo: bird/facesU.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Frequently Asked Questions: Family Caregiving

December 16, 2003

PDF Version



IMPACT OF FAMILY AND INFORMAL CAREGIVING TO OUR NATION

How many family caregivers provide help to loved ones in the US?

Who are family and informal caregivers?

How important is family or informal caregiving in the provision of long-term care?

What type of care do caregivers provide?

How much does family caregiving save our nation in long-term care costs?

What are the other typical commitments of family caregivers?

What impact does caregiving have on the employers of family caregivers?


HEALTH AND WELL-BEING OF FAMILY AND INFORMAL CAREGIVERS

What impact does caregiving have on the health and well-being of caregivers?

The cost of care to the caregiver -- in emotional, physical and financial stress and in time can be quite significant. Research has suggested that the combination of loss, prolonged distress, the physical demands of caregiving, and biological vulnerabilities of older caregivers may compromise their physiological health and increase their risk for physical problems, leading to increased mortality.

What adverse mental and physical health concerns are experienced by family caregivers?

What issues and concerns make it difficult for family caregivers to be healthy?

Several actual and/or perceived barrier prevent many caregivers from engaging in health promotion and disease prevention activities. These may include:

What common strategies do intervention programs utilize to the help the caregivers alleviate the mental and physical-related stress and it's impact on their health?

Effective tools to encourage family caregivers to engage in more beneficial health include:

Why is the health and well-being of caregivers important?

Recent research has shown that there is a link between caregiver strain and poor caregiver health outcomes. Specifically:

While there are various known and established health promotion and disease prevention programs and interventions that currently target aging adults, less is known about the availability of programs and services that promote disease prevention within the informal care population of the elderly. Because the Department of Health and Human Services recognizes the impending shortage of informal caregivers and the importance of encouraging caregivers to take care of themselves in order to provide ongoing support their disabled or ill family members at home, it has funded the Health Promotion and Aging Study: Blueprint for Change in the 21st Century.


HHS-SPONSORED AND PRIVATE ACTIVITIES

What HHS-sponsored programs and activities provide support for family caregivers?

What is the National Family Caregiver Support Program and how does it support HHS mission to help family caregivers?

What programs and research studies are in place to help family caregivers stay healthy and/or avoid illness?

Caregiver Resources

Respite Services

Intervention Studies

Descriptive Studies


Related Links

NOTE: PDF versions of all Caregiver Event material is also available from http://aspe.hhs.gov/daltcp/reports.htm, or Hard Copies can be mailed to you by emailing your request to webmaster.DALTCP@hhs.gov.