Psychology and Family Caregiving

Aspa Sarris*

Psychology and Family Caregiving.

National surveys have illustrated the high prevalence of caregiving in the community.
Census data from the UK shows that around 6 million people were providing informal care
over a 15 year period to 2001. Similarly, survey data from the US has reported that at any
time, 14-16% of adults provide unpaid care to ill, disabled or elderly people. This equates to
over 29 million adults of whom 17% are caregivers for more than 40 hours per week.

Available published research suggests that the economic value of home-based family caregiving dramatically surpasses spending for institutional care or formal home care. For instance, it has been reported that the estimated cost of in-home family caregiving for individuals with dementia is over $56,290 annually and such estimates exclude related financial costs to the caregiver, including loss of income and other costs.

The burdens on family caregivers go beyond financial loss, however, since in the process of caregiving, family caregivers often lose contact with friends, neighbors, relatives, work
colleagues and their social support networks.

Frequently, no-one is visiting and talking with the caregiver when they most need support and help, including help with shopping or minor home repairs, time-off to attend their own medical appointments, and in times when they need sympathy and encouragement or advice and support. Since now most of us will require care for several years in the last part of our lives, research designed to further contribute to our understanding of the work and support needs of in-home.

Psychol Cogn Sci Open J. 2016; 2(1): 64-65. doi: 10.17140/PCSOJ-2-116