HealthLawProf Blog

Editor: Katharine Van Tassel
Akron Univ. School of Law

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Monday, August 13, 2007

Caregiver Syndrome

CNN.com reports on a newly named syndrome,

Do you take care of someone in your family with a chronic medical illness or dementia? Have you felt depression, anger or guilt? Has your health deteriorated since taking on the responsibility of caregiving? If your answer is yes to any one of these, you may be suffering from caregiver stress.

This condition is increasingly being referred to as "caregiver syndrome" by the medical community because of its numerous consistent signs and symptoms. In the pamphlet, "Caring for Persons with Dementia," Dr. Jean Posner, a neuropsychiatrist in Baltimore, Maryland, referred to caregiver syndrome as, "a debilitating condition brought on by unrelieved, constant caring for a person with a chronic illness or dementia."

An increasing number of Americans are finding themselves taking care of someone who's aging or ill or both. According to the American Academy of Geriatric Psychiatrists, one out of every four American families cares for someone over the age of 50. As America's population ages, that number is expected to skyrocket. In 2000, the Census Bureau reported, just under 35 million Americans were 65 or over; by 2030, the number is projected to more than double, to more than 71 million. . . . .

The article provides a quick overview as to why many of these caregivers fail to recognize their own need for help and understanding as they deal with these challenges.

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