SAN FRANCISCO, July 19, 2017 — Researchers from the Stanford Center on Longevity and Stanford’s Psychology Department have released results from a partnership with ClearCare, a company that provides a software platform for home care agencies, and Comfort Keepers, a senior home care network.
The survey, sent to over 2,000 families in over 35 states, was completed in late 2016.
“To date, few studies examine the social connectedness of family caregivers who receive home care services,” said Dr. Tamara Sims, a researcher at Stanford’s Center on Longevity, “This is critical however, as we have seen from The Sightlines Project that social engagement is waning in the U.S., particularly among sandwich generations –those who are caring not only for their children but for aging relatives.”
The study used standard research instruments to document who is suffering emotionally and identify the reasons why in this understudied but crucial population. The study population closely mirrors the geographical distribution of the U.S. population of family caregivers.
Research highlights include:
Surprisingly, family caregivers who are 55-64 years old in this study who receive home care services report more social interaction than overall 55-64 year olds in the U.S.: 66% of study participants ages 55-64 report having meaningful interactions with friends (versus 54% of the overall U.S. same-age population). Yet, this same group reported less social support than the overall U.S. population.
Despite the challenges of caregiving, family caregivers experiences higher levels of emotional well-being with age. The exception is in older family members of very sick individuals, who report worse emotional well-being than older family members with mild illness; this was found to be related to how much the family members felt that caring for a very sick loved one had a negative impact on their social life (as opposed to personal time or finances).
“We are experiencing a massive demographic shift, with more older people than younger for the first time in human history,” said Geoff Nudd, CEO of ClearCare. “This fact, in combination with how social well-being correlates to rising health care costs, enables solutions to an imminent crisis. These findings provide us with invaluable insight and implications into how the power of home care can improve lives.”
The study included Comfort Keepers locations. Mary Bowman, Global EVP of Marketing and Communications at Comfort Keepers, said, “We were thrilled for the opportunity to collaborate in this research. These findings are both interesting and useful for our providers and families.”
The study is one of the inaugural projects under the new Stanford Center for Longevity Sightlines research studies, which chronicles aging outcomes across the U.S.
“We’re delighted to announce this collaboration and study findings,” said Geoff Nudd, founder and CEO of ClearCare. “The strength of academic research by the Stanford Center for Longevity coupled with the in-field work of Comfort Keepers helps to unveil and solve real-world aging problems. These are challenges faced by millions of seniors and their families. We couldn’t be more excited to help impact research and solutions in home care.”
For detailed study findings, please see http://longevity.stanford.edu/spotlight-on-caregiving. For questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.