Toll of Family Caregiving on Health is Much Smaller Than Previously Reported, Study Suggests

Toll of Family Caregiving on Health is Much Smaller Than Previously Reported, Study Suggests
While caregiving for people with Alzheimer’s and other disorders has a significant detrimental impact on caregivers' immune system, the association is weak — less than 1% — and may not carry clinical significance, a new study shows. “We’re not saying that family caregiving can’t be stressful, but there’s a notion that it’s so stressful that it causes deteriorating health and increased mortality. This can lead to fear of caregiving and a reluctance to care for loved ones in need,” David Roth, MA, PhD, professor of medicine, and director of the Center on Aging and Health at Johns Hopkins University, and the study's lead author said in a press release. “We’re challenging that narrative as being too exaggerated,” he added. The study, “Is Family Caregiving Associated With Inflammation or Compromised Immunity? A Meta-Analysis,” was published in the journal The Gerontologist. Several studies in the last decades have reported that being a family caregiver takes a toll on a person’s health, namely on the immune system — with lower levels of several immune system biomarkers and increased inflammation compared with noncaregivers — shorter life span, and slower wound healing. Caregiving is often presented as stressful and burdensome, with reports showing that caregive
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