ARCHIVED - Seniors Caring for Seniors

 

Family and friends provide about 80 to 90% of care to ill or disabled persons in the community. Caring for others can be rewarding, but long-term or intense caregiving can negatively impact a person's health and well-being. The numbers of seniors caring for seniors is projected to increase as the baby boomers enter their later years. Caregiving can have a negative effect on caregivers' health behaviours, for instance, loss of sleep, lack of physical exercise, neglect of preventive health care and social isolation. The consequences of family caregiving on physical health include back injuries, headaches and hypertension. Stress, burnout and clinical depression are the major mental health impacts reported in studies. Not all caregivers are equally vulnerable: those with the greatest health risks are older, have lower incomes and have health problems of their own.

The Division of Aging and Seniors is enhancing the knowledge, tools and resources available to support and enable caregivers and public health practitioners to identify and address the health risks experienced by senior caregivers. Specifically, the Division works to identify best-practice interventions to promote caregivers' health; develop information materials to raise awareness of the risks by caregivers themselves and health professionals; and develop resources to help health professionals respond to caregivers' health needs.

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