Caregiving is a growing epidemic but a new study shows that caring for veterans presents additional stress above and beyond what is experienced by typical family caregivers. The study, released today by the National Alliance for Caregiving (NAC) and funded by United Health Foundation, finds that family caregivers of veterans face a higher burden of care, both in intensity and duration.
“The family caregivers who serve our country’s veterans are making huge sacrifices in terms of their own health, careers and home life,” said Reed Tuckson, M.D., United Health Foundation board member and executive vice president and chief of medical affairs, UnitedHealth Group. “The data indicate that these ‘homefront heroes’ are proud to serve in the role of caregiver for their loved ones. Yet it is incumbent upon all of us to help them find support and solutions to preserve their own health and well being, as well as that of the veteran. It is important that relatives, friends, and neighbors seek out opportunities to provide respite and other supportive services to these caregivers.”
The Caregivers of Veterans – Serving on the Homefront study finds that women represent ninety six percent of caregivers for veterans compared to the national average of 65%. A contributing factor to these caregivers’ stress and burden is the veteran’s health conditions, which often include post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) (60 percent), mental health conditions such as depression or anxiety (70 percent), and traumatic brain injury (TBI) (29 percent). Caregivers stated that they avoided stressful situations to avoiding triggering anxiety or anitsocial behavior in the veteran they were caring for in the survey.
“The care of a veteran is unique, and in many ways these caregivers are facing even greater challenges than other family caregivers,” said Gail Hunt, president and CEO of the National Alliance for Caregiving. “This report serves as a reminder that we need to come together to make sure caregivers have adequate resources and support.”
For the full findings, visit: Caregivers of Veterans – Serving on the Homefront