Family caregivers are strong, loving, and devoted individuals. They care for family members out of love and devotion, often at the loss of their own self-care.

The following statistics are sobering...

•  Caregivers are less likely to engage in preventive health behaviors.(1)

•  Spousal caregivers who provide 36 or more hours per week of care are slightly more likely to smoke and consume more saturated fat.(2)

•  Compared to noncaregivers, women caregivers are twice as likely not to fill a prescription because of the cost (26% vs. 13%).(3)

•  Nearly three quarters (72%) of caregivers reported that they had not gone to the doctor as often as they should, and more than half (55%) had missed doctors appointments.(4)

•  Caregivers’ self-care suffers because they lack the time and energy to prepare proper meals or to exercise. About six in ten caregivers in a national survey reported that their eating (63%) and exercising (58%) habits are worse than before.(5)

•  Caregivers in rural areas are at a greater disadvantage for having their own medical needs met due to difficulty getting to the hospital and doctor.(5)

1 Schulz, R., Newsom, J., Mittelmark, M., Burton, L., Hirsch, C. & Jackson, S. (1997). Health effects of caregiving: The Caregiver Health Effects Study: an ancillary study of The Cardiovascular Health Study. Annals of Behavioral Medicine,19: 110-116.

2 Lee, S.L., Colditz, G.A., Berkman, L.F. & Kawachi, I. (2003). Caregiving and risk of coronary heart disease in U.S. women: A prospective study. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 24(2), 113–119.

3 The Commonwealth Fund. (1999). Informal Caregiving (Fact Sheet). New York: Author.

4 National Alliance for Caregiving & Evercare. (2006). Evercare® Study of Caregivers in Decline: A Close-up Look at the Health Risks of Caring for a Loved One. Bethesda, MD: National Alliance for Caregiving and Minnetonka, MN: Evercare.

5 Tanner Sanford, J., Johnson, A.D., & Townsend-Rocchiccioli, J. (2005). The Health Status of Rural Caregivers.Journal of Gerontological Nursing, 31(4), 25-31.