New research says family caregiving takes a toll



    Study sheds light on issues and concerns of caregivers, seniors

    TORONTO, April 15 /CNW/ - A new study on family caregivers and the senior
relatives they care for reveals some glaring concerns. The study was
commissioned by Home Instead Senior Care, a leading provider of home care
services for seniors. It involved an online survey of caregivers and seniors.
The study found that:

    
    -  One in four family caregivers has no help at all while one in four has
       paid help
    -  The average caregiver has been at it for four years and devotes 20
       hours/week to the task, but 25% of them devote 40 hours/week and more
    -  69% of all the seniors being cared for are 75 years and up, and this
       percentage will increase as the population continues to age
    -  Many family caregivers think their quality of life is poor, and it's
       especially poor if the senior being cared for lives in the same
       household
    -  25% of the seniors live with the caregiver while 40% live within 8
       kilometers.
    

    "Families are coming together to share caregiving duties, and also for
economic help and emotional support," says Scott Johnson of Home Instead
Senior Care. "By all accounts, the current economic crisis is resulting in
more multi-generational households as children who had moved out are coming
back, and Boomer-age adults are taking in their senior parents."
    Johnson said the survey is important because there hasn't been much
information about this before, and the phenomenon of family caregiving is only
going to increase.
    In the study, which involved online interviews with 765 respondents in
Canada, of whom 407 were family caregivers and 358 were seniors, family
caregivers were asked to rate their quality of life on a scale of 1 to 5 where
4 or 5 represented the highest qualities of life. For those caregivers caring
for seniors who lived in the same household, only 35% rated their quality of
life as a 4 or 5. However, this figure rose significantly to 56% when the
senior relative did not live in the same household. A total of 59% of
respondents said they would welcome additional help.
    The study included a demographic breakdown about family caregivers and
the seniors they care for, and identified and ranked issues of most concern.
It examined the implications and impact involving such things as: proximity of
the senior to the family caregivers, and issues related to finances, stress,
and quality of life.
    While caregivers rated the challenges of the seniors as high, the seniors
themselves didn't appear to be as concerned about these challenges, implying
that the caregivers and seniors are not on the same page here.
    According to the 2006 census, more than half a million grandparents aged
45 and up (514,800) were living in a home shared by their grandchildren. Just
over half of these grandparents (52.2%) were 65 or over. Of these
grandparents, more than half of them (52.5%) lived with a middle generation
who were the parents of their grandchildren. Thus, such households represent
three generations.
    The challenging issues arising from multi-generational households
prompted Home Instead Senior Care to launch a public education campaign called
Too Close for Comfort? to help families see if living together is a good idea,
and to provide tips on how to make the arrangement work for seniors and family
caregivers. This campaign will help adult children begin to address such
issues as: the stress of caregiving under one roof, adapting a home for two or
more generations, and combining family incomes.
    A free handbook, available from the local office of Home Instead Senior
Care, can help determine if merging households is a good idea. The handbook
addresses the emotional, physical, and financial aspects of multi-generational
living. It also provides tips for making the home comfortable and safe for the
senior, and for how to make the arrangement work.
    For more information and tips on the financial ramifications of
multi-generational living, log on to www.makewayformom.com or contact your
local Home Instead Senior Care office for the free Too Close for Comfort?
handbook.

    
    About Home Instead Senior Care
    ------------------------------
    

    In Canada, Home Instead Senior Care has 22 independently owned locations
in seven provinces. There are 12 in Ontario - nine in the Greater Toronto
Area, as well as in Ottawa, Peterborough and Waterloo. Five are in B.C. -
Kelowna, Port Coquitlam, Vancouver, Victoria and White Rock. There are also
locations in Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Edmonton, Halifax and Charlottetown.
Services include companionship, meal preparation, medication reminders, light
housekeeping, and escorts for errands and shopping. Home Instead Senior Care
services are available at home or in care facilities from a few hours per week
up to 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

    Home Instead Senior Care is the world's largest provider of non-medical
home care and companionship services for seniors with more than 800
independently-owned-and-operated locations in Canada, the U.S., Japan,
Portugal, Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, the U.K., Spain, South Korea,
Austria, Finland and Taiwan. For more information about the company and its
owners visit www.homeinstead.com.




For further information:

For further information: or to arrange an interview, please contact:
Mary Ann Freedman, Freedman & Associates, Tel: (416) 868-1500, Email:
mafreedman@freedmanandassociates.com

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