Written by Gwen Driscoll and sent along by Peter Durkson, an interesting piece of news arrives telling me that the number of caregivers in California is set to double. One of the problems associated with this boom it that many of these soon-to-be caregivers are themselves facing the prospect of an “unhealthy future due to higher rates of poor health behaviors, compared with both non-caregivers in the same age range and older caregivers.”
There’s trouble in River City folks.
Family members or friends caring for aging or disabled individuals in California are under both financial and emotional strain and are likely to face even greater burdens, given recent cuts in state support for programs and services that support in-home care, write the authors of a new policy briefby the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.The study looked at California’s estimated 6 million–plus informal caregivers of all ages and found higher levels of serious psychological distress and negative health behaviors, such as smoking, compared with the general population. Of particular concern are an estimated 2.6 million caregivers between the ages of 45 and 64 who may be setting themselves up for an unhealthy future due to higher rates of poor health behaviors, compared with both non-caregivers in the same age range and older caregivers.“This is the ‘sandwich generation,’ the group of people struggling to meet the needs of both growing children and aging parents, often alone and while holding down full-time jobs,” said Geoffrey Hoffman, the brief’s lead author. “Caregivers need help, especially as baby boomers age and place even greater strains on their and their families’ abilities to cope.”