39 percent of U.S. adults provide unpaid care for a loved one with health issues, according to a new report published by the Pew Research Center. This figure represents an increase of 9 percent since a similar report was published in 2010.
Researchers surveyed over three thousand U.S. adults to compile the report. 36 percent of those surveyed said they provided unpaid care for an adult with chronic health conditions or disabilities, compared to 27 percent in 2010. Two-thirds of that group responded that they care for one adult, while one-third said they care for more than one adult. 47 percent of those who care for adults say at least one is their parent or parent-in-law.
Technology was found to be a great aide for caregivers. 72 percent of caregivers said they use the internet to gather health information, 46 percent go online to diagnose health conditions, and 24 percent review medication information online. However, of the 39 percent of caregivers who manage medications for a loved one, only 7 percent used internet- or mobile-based technology to do so. A 2012 survey indicated most caregivers found medication management challenging, with almost half of them receiving little to no training.
The report found that being a caregiver takes a toll on one’s own health, as caregivers were more likely to experience a serious medical emergency or be hospitalized when compared to the health status of non-caregivers. A more positive consequence of being a caregiver is that they are more likely to be aware of their own health. Caregivers were found to be significantly more likely to watch their weight and diet, and track health indicators such as blood pressure, blood sugar, and sleep habits.
Read the full report: Family Caregivers are Wired for Health.
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