Older adults may become caregivers to others at some point during their senior years. Some may provide care to individuals who are cognitively impaired, physically frail, or with other needs. Many caregivers are elderly spouse. In addition to experiencing physical and mental health conditions related to providing care, these caregivers may also experience their own age‑associated health conditions.
In the case of dementia, family caregivers provide about 80% of the care received (Guberman, 1999) with spouses the primary caregivers for approximately 37% of community dwelling individuals with dementia (Canadian Study of Health and Aging Working Group, 1994). These caregivers manifest considerable stress and clinical depression, have an increased number of illnesses and make greater use of health care resources than caregivers of those with a physical illness/disability (Livingston, Manela and Katona, 1996).
Excerpt from Seniors Mental Health Policy Lens Toolkit