Caregiver Stress

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Running head: CAREGIVER STRESS

Caregiver Stress

The United States has a significant and growing crisis with caregiver stress. There are about 1.4 million older Americans living in nursing homes, 6 million receiving care at home, and a significant number going without any help at all (International Longevity Center, 2009). The current demand for caregiving services is going to worsen considerably with the aging of baby boomers and the United States has no caregiving system in place, which means that the caregiving crisis is receiving less attention than it warrants. An estimated 44.4 million Americans (National Alliance for Caregiving, 2007) or “80%-90% of families serve as informal caregivers” (Hanson, Gedaly-Duff, & Kaakinen, 2005). Caregivers tend to be so immersed in their caregiving role that they neglect to take care of themselves. They are not able to recognize signs and symptoms of stress so they tend to use “limited services or access services late in their caregiving experience” (Winslow, 2003). Because of the chronic pressure due to caregiving activities, caregiver stress can be associated with physiological problems and psychological changes such as “depression, grief, and fatigue” (Sullivan, 2002). If left undiagnosed caregiver stress will result in “ineffective functioning, lower self-esteem, lower role enjoyment, less marital satisfaction” (Tsai, 2003) and premature institutionalization of patients because of unmet needs. The Caregiver Self-Assessment Questionnaire (CSAQ) was developed by the American Medical Association. It can be a useful tool to help healthcare providers and caregivers determine how families are coping with the additional challenges of being a caregiver. The results from this instrument can identify gaps in services. The CSAQ is an eighteen-question survey with 16 “yes/no” items and two global scale items designed to measure indicators of emotional and physical distress by the caregiver. It was tested on a...
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