AARP conducted a survey among caregivers to assess stressors they may experience as a result of the holiday season and any holiday traditions they have to make.
Key findings include:
- Nearly seven in ten caregivers say it is emotionally stressful to care for their loved one during the holiday season (29% say “very stressful;” 39% “somewhat stressful”). Not surprisingly, working caregivers and those caring for parents tend to feel the most stressed.
- Despite the stress the holiday season brings, many caregivers say they feel more positive about the holidays since becoming a caregiver. Interestingly, men and younger caregivers are more likely to say their feelings have become more positive. The most common reasons caregivers feel more positive are that they enjoy helping and that their loved ones are near.
- Caregivers plan to make a variety of holiday-related changes or sacrifices this year to accommodate for their caregiving duties. Over eight in ten (85%) plan to make at least one adjustment this year to their typical holiday routine. Looking specifically at meal changes (e.g., purchasing meals, going out to eat, reducing the amount, etc.), seven in ten (70%) plan to make changes of this nature.
- In addition to adjusting holiday meals, more than four in ten (46%) say they will need to cut back on holiday spending this year due to their caregiving duties.
- On average, caregivers are making at least 3-4 changes this holiday season. Younger caregivers and those who are employed intend to make the most changes likely due to busier schedules than non-working caregivers.
- Caregivers would find a variety of assistance helpful this holiday season. The most common are having someone to talk to (79%) and help with holiday tasks (73%). Senior caregivers are the least likely to say assistance would be helpful whereas those under the age of 50+ are most likely to say these things would be helpful.
- Caregivers are confident they can recognize the signs or symptoms that their loved one may need additional support. Eight in ten (85%) caregivers say they feel prepared to recognize the signs their loved ones may need more assistance or support.
This survey was conducted via telephone (RDD with both landline and cell phone sampling among 1,002 family caregivers). Caregivers were included as well as 479 care recipients. The data was collected from October 27 through November 15, 2017. For more information contact Laura Skufca at LSkufca@aarp.org.
Skufca, Laura. AARP Family Caregiver Survey: Holiday Stressors and Emotions. Washington DC: AARP Research, December 2017. https://doi.org/10.26419/res.00185.001