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Know Your Numbers: Caregivers need support too

There are more than a half-million 'caregivers' in Minnesota. Caregivers provide physical assistance to family or friends with health limitations. Being a caregiver has emotional and financial consequences.
Family caregiver stock image. Credit: Thinkstock Images

Golden Valley, MN — Are you a caregiver? If you provide regular assistance to an family member or friend, the answer is ‘yes’.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says twenty percent of the U.S. population provide regular care or assistance to a family member or friend with a disability or health problem. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, there are more than 585,000 Minnesotans who devote an average 24 hours of care each week to people in need.

Emotional and Financial Impacts

Caregiving can be intense. ‘High intensity’ caregivers devote more than 62 hours of assistance each week. Most ‘informal family’ caregivers are not paid for their work. CDC studies show many caregivers also have full-time (34%) or part-time (25%) jobs.

Caregiving has emotional and financial impacts. People who provide care for people with cancer or dementia often develop their own health challenges. Many report high levels of psychological stress.

According to the CDC, the average caregiver spends $7000 of their own money to provide assistance to loved ones. The strains can be more intense in rural areas where resources are fewer and harder to find.

Help for the Caregiver

The Alzheimer’s Association knows a thing or two about the challenges of being a caregiver. Providing regular care can result in anger, exhaustion, personal health issues, and more. Here’s a link to their “10 Symptoms of Caregiver Stress”

It’s vital that caregivers find ways to manage their stress. Prioritizing ‘personal time’ for exercise, meditation, and companionship are among the suggestions to avoid becoming overwhelmed. Here’s a link to more guidance from the CDC.

Know Your Numbers

This information is provided by Health Fair 11 as part of its Know Your Numbers campaign. Health Fair 11 is a non-profit organization that operates with the support of KARE 11 TV and UCare. Learn more at www.HealthFair11.org.

Resources use for this article

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Alzheimer’s Association