Relatives and friends caring for aging or disabled Californians are under financial and emotional strains and likely to face greater burdens because of recent state budget reductions, according to new research.
A study released by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research shows the state's estimated 6 million informal caregivers suffer higher levels of serious psychological distress, such as depression, and negative health behaviors, including smoking, compared to the general population. Researchers say about 3 million caregivers between ages 45 and 64 particularly are at risk.
"This is the 'sandwich generation' -- the group of people struggling to meet the needs of both growing children and aging parents, often alone and while holding down full-time jobs," said Geoffrey Hoffman, the study's lead author. "Caregivers need help, especially as Baby Boomers age and place even greater strains on ... their families' abilities to cope."
Researchers used 2009 California health surveys to find that caregivers provide an average of 20 hours of care per week for friends or relatives who can no longer bathe, shop, manage medicine or pay bills. They did not say how many caregivers live in the Inland area.
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