Stressed and Strapped: Caregivers in California
This policy brief profiles California's informal caregivers—adults who provide care to a family member or friend coping with an illness or disability. Although caregivers appear to be as healthy as noncaregivers of the same age, they report higher levels of psychological distress and engagement in poor health-related behaviors, such as smoking. Middle-aged caregivers may be at greatest risk for poor health outcomes such as high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease. Few caregivers are paid for their work or use state services that might help alleviate both financial and psychological burdens. Caregivers should foresee difficult times ahead, given recent state budget cuts to programs that support caregivers, and older and disabled adults.