At a time when there is a lot of discourse around mental well-being and what people can do to lead better lives, a recent study has revealed that male and female caregivers over the age of 50 are more likely to face problems with their mental and physical health. In fact, their caring responsibilities can cause them more stress, than people who do not provide any care, the study reveals.
Led by the University Medical Research Council (MRC) Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit, the study’s findings were published in the European Journal of Public Health. The results of over 8,000 men and women, who took part in the university’s Health And Employment After Fifty (HEAF) study, were analysed.
The results showed that nearly one-fifth of men and over a quarter of women were engaged in some kind of caring responsibility. And those who provided the highest levels of care to other people, were disadvantaged, in terms of their social standing and their educational level, as opposed to those who did not have any caring responsibilities.
It was also noted that the caregivers were more likely to be retired, or unemployed. Among those that did work, there were people who would work part-time, or in shifts. The study revealed that those caregivers who worked for more than 20 hours per week, were more likely to suffer from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), experience depression and some sleep problems.
“This study has shone a new light on the disadvantages faced by those who have to care for their friends or family members, and the significant impact of caring on their own health and ability to work,” Professor Karen Walker-Bone of the University of Southampton, who led the study, was quoted as saying.
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