Caring for Loved Ones Is More Rewarding Than Expected

Findings from the CVS/pharmacy and Caring Today 2007 "Caregiver Insights Study: Well-Being and Care Management" indicate that family caregivers find the caregiving experience more enjoyable than expected. Findings further revealed that those caregivers who were better prepared to fill the caregiver role and responsibilities had more positive experiences than those who were unprepared.

The online study, conducted by Anderson Analytics among 514 prescreened qualified adults between April 26 and May 20, 2007, was intended to better understand the impact of family caregiving on caregivers' lives by examining many aspects, including impact on health and emotional well-being, relationships, medication management, and available resources.

Preparation Is Key

According to the study, 76 percent of participants reported that, in general, they enjoyed the tasks associated with being a family caregiver. In addition, 54 percent indicated that they bonded with their care recipients more than they had anticipated. The study also found that level of preparedness makes a difference in caregivers' emotional response and behaviors. While only 26 percent of respondents found themselves prepared for the role, the ones who were prepared were significantly less likely to experience feelings of depression. Prepared caregivers were also significantly more likely to eat properly, feel focused, and continue to see friends.


"While it's difficult for anyone to really be prepared to take on the monumental challenge of being the primary caregiver for someone, this study shows that it's never too early to start thinking that one day this might be a reality—and to start learning about resources out there to help," said Victor Imbimbo, president and CEO of Caring Today.

Managing Medications

The study also surveyed medication management trends. Caregivers reported that their care recipients take an average of 4.5 prescription drugs and 46 percent take five or more. The vast majority (87 percent) of respondents reported that understanding medication is very important. Their primary concerns were not knowing enough about drug interactions (36 percent) and not recognizing side effects (21 percent).

"Caregiver confusion about medications is understandable, especially when administering more than one," said Papatya Tankut, vice president, Pharmacy Professional Services at CVS/pharmacy. "Caregivers can have questions about side effects, adverse interactions, and timing of dosages. We encourage them to discuss these questions with their pharmacists, in addition to the prescribing physician."

The study revealed that fewer than half of caregivers (46 percent) talk with their pharmacist to learn more about the medications their care recipient is taking. Less than 44 percent of respondents reported that all of the recipient's medicines are coordinated by one doctor. "To avoid potential interactions, caregivers should inform their doctor(s) and pharmacist of all the prescriptions, over-the-counter medications, herbal remedies, and vitamins the recipient is taking," advised Tankut.