Report Affirms Stresses of Remote Caregiving—Finds Some Benefits, Too
The very idea of caring for a family member in a different zip code—much less a different time zone—has little precedent. Go back 100 years and most extended families shared a single dwelling. At the most, grandma and grandpa lived across town. Today that’s all changed. The centrifugal forces propelling family members far and wide seems only to be increasing. A 1997 study estimated that more than 7 million Americans were distance caregivers. More recently, the National Council on Aging [NCOA] projected that the number of distance caregivers would increase to 14 million by 2012.
While it is well known that caregivers in general are more prone to depression and physical illness than the rest of the population, few have looked into the particular challenges for those who do so from afar. One who has is Polly Mazanec, Ph.D., assistant professor at Case Western Reserve and an advanced practice nurse at University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center. I spoke to Mazanec about her findings, which were published recently in Oncology Nursing Forum. (more…)