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Taking Care of Family Improves the Lives of Caregivers and Care Recipients

Positive emotions far outweigh negative emotions for both family caregivers and care recipients, according to…

  • December 2, 2017

Positive emotions far outweigh negative emotions for both family caregivers and care recipients, according to a new survey from AARP.

Family caregivers report more positive emotions despite half feeling stressed or worried and care recipients report more positive emotions despite 6 out of 10 feeling less independent.

The survey also found that family caregivers who felt more prepared to take on their role were more likely to report positive emotions than negative.

“Changing roles can be difficult to navigate within families, especially when those changes happen quickly with little time to prepare,” said Amy Goyer, AARP Family and Caregiving expert and author of AARP’s Juggling Life, Work, and Caregiving.

“AARP’s caregiving resources help families prepare for new roles, making the transition less stressful and allowing families to enjoy more quality time together,” Goyer said.

Key findings from the survey include:

  • For family caregivers, positive emotions such as being pleased about helping a loved one (91%) far outweigh negative feelings.
  • However, over half are stressed (51%) or worried (51%) and many are overwhelmed (40%).
  • 4 in 10 family caregivers say they were not prepared to take on their role.
  • Among those who were prepared, only 16 percent say they were “very prepared.”
  • Family caregivers who felt prepared for their role were more positive.
  • Seventy-nine percent of those who felt prepared were more likely to report they were happy compared with only 57 percent of those who felt unprepared.
  • Eighty-four percent of prepared respondents felt comfortable with their role versus 60 percent of unprepared respondents.
  • Most care recipients feel a sense of gratitude (89%) along with other positive emotions.
  • However, nearly six in ten (59%) say they feel less independent since accepting help.

Are any of us really prepared to take on the role of caregiver? Or, for that matter, the role of one who needs to be cared for? Perhaps not, but once we make the adjustment the benefits can outweigh the hardships.

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