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While this is a study from just one state, Calif., anecdotally I can report that its implications certainly apply to the country.
The estimated 6 million informal caregivers in California show serious psychological distress and negative health behaviors such as smoking, according to a policy brief by the University of California, Los Angeles, Center for Health Policy Research.
According to UPI.com, the study finds:
- 25.5 percent of middle-age caregivers are more likely than older or younger caregivers to binge drink
- 16 percent are more likely to smoke and 30 percent are more likely to be obese.
- Caregivers of all ages who reported serious psychological distress were 208 percent more than non-caregivers to smoke.
- Nearly one-third of middle-aged caregivers are single, divorced or widowed, and more than two-thirds hold down full- or part-time jobs.
If you are a caregiver, know that there are resources to help you. Just search my blog for a start. And non-caregivers, please reach out to caregivers you know and provide much-needed support.