Essay on Burden As Experienced By Family Caregivers
In the media, an informal or family caregiver is often portrayed as a middle aged woman who looks after an elderly relative suffering from a long-term physical condition. However, research suggests that caregivers tend to be as varied in their demographic make-up as society itself. For example, a caregiver may be the parent who cares for a child with developmental disabilities or for an adolescent with severe behavioral, emotional, or mental disorders; it may also be the husband who cares for his wife who is in a deep depression and struggles with anxiety or the adult granddaughter who cares for her grandparent with Alzheimer’s disease. The aim of this paper is to examine how caregiver burden may be experienced differently by those caring for mentally ill loved ones who are children, young adults, or older adults. Is the age of the recipient a factor in caregiver burden?
Caregiver Burden and Mental Illness
The level of stress experienced by a family, because of an illness, is referred to as family burden (Crowe & Brinkley, 2015). This burden is comprised of environmental (objective) factors as well as negative appraisal (subjective) factors by the caregiver (Cummings & Kropf, 2015) and can lead to burnout (Truzzi, Valente, Ulstein, Engelhardt, Laks, & Engedal, 2012). Burnout is defined as an increased level of emotional exhaustion (EE), depersonalization (DP) and a sense of reduced personal accomplishment (RPA) (Truzzi et.al.,…