One of the best things caregivers can do for themselves, and the person they’re caring for, is to spend time every day on functional fitness exercises. There are 2 good reasons caregivers should make this routine a priority.

  1. Functional exercises improve the quality of life for the person being cared for. How?  Functional exercises make you feel and function better.
  2. Functional exercises decrease the physical workload for the caregiver. How?  The more someone can do, or help with (i.e. assisting in transfers), the less caregivers will have to do for them.

Stats on Caregivers

The CDC (Centers for Disease Control) has a list of statistics posted on their website that puts a face on caregivers in the United States.

  • More than 34 million unpaid caregivers provide care to someone age 18 and older who is ill or has a disability (AARP, 2008).
  • An estimated 21% of households in the United States are impacted by caregiving responsibilities (NAC, 2004).
  • Unpaid caregivers provide an estimated 90% of the long-term care (IOM, 2008).
  • The majority (83%) are family caregivers—unpaid persons such as family members, friends, and neighbors of all ages who are providing care for a relative (FCA, 2005)
  • The typical caregiver is a 46 year old woman with some college experience and provides more than 20 hours of care each week to her mother (NAC, 2004).
  • The out-of-pocket costs for caregivers who are caring for someone who was age 50 or older averaged $5,531 in 2007. About 37% of caregivers for someone age 50 and older reduced their work hours or quit their job in 2007 (AARP, 2008).
  • Caregivers report having difficulty finding time for one’s self (35%), managing emotional and physical stress (29%), and balancing work and family responsibilities (29%) (NAC, 2004).
  • About 73% of surveyed caregivers said praying helps them cope with caregiving stress, 61% said that they talk with or seek advice from friends or relatives, and 44% read about caregiving in books or other materials (NAC, 2004).
  • About 30% said they need help keeping the person they care for safe and 27% would like to find easy activities to do with the person they care for (NAC, 2004).
  • Half (53%) of caregivers who said their health had gotten worse due to caregiving also said the decline in their health has affected their ability to provide care (NAC, 2006).
  • Caregivers said they do not go to the doctor because they put their family’s needs first (67% said that is a major reason), or they put the care recipient’s needs over their own (57%). More than half (51%) said they do not have time to take care of themselves and almost half (49%) said they are too tired to do so (NAC, 2004).

Caregivers Resources

One could conclude from the statistics above that sharing resources and building a network of support is a crucial part of managing the needs of both caregivers and those being cared for. Sit and Be Fit is dedicated to helping. We are developing a free newsletter with inspiring support for caregivers. To be included, please forward your request to [email protected] and place “Caregiver’s Newsletter” in the subject line.

Recommended Sit and Be Fit DVDs:

Caregivers Workout

Recommended Reading: