According to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study, caregivers, particularly persons with both parenting and adult caregiving responsibilities, will continue to face mental health challenges, and the need for caregivers is projected to increase as the U.S. population ages.
Age and dementia friendly community initiatives may consider how to be inclusive of caregiver needs when engaging residents for feedback and when crafting an action plan.
Among 10,444 U.S. adults surveyed during December 6–27, 2020, and February 16–March 8, 2021, parents, unpaid caregivers of adults, and parents-caregivers (persons in both roles) had significantly worse mental health than adults not in these roles, including five times the odds of any adverse mental health symptoms (parents-caregivers).
Conversely, persons who had someone to rely on for support had lower odds of experiencing any adverse mental health symptoms. This is backed up by an article in the New England Journal of Medicine, which found that caregivers who report having even just one person supporting them have 40% less risk of depression and 30% less risk of anxiety. The opportunity presented from the NEJM article focuses on the opportunity for healthcare providers to better communicate with and support unpaid caregivers, which is, in turn, a possible opportunity for age- and dementia friendly communities that work with local hospitals and health systems.