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Caring For Elderly Could Lead To Isolation, Researcher Says

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Caring For Elderly Could Lead To Isolation, Researcher Says

Wellington, Jan 17 NZPA - Caring for elderly relatives while raising kids and working can make people depressed, exhausted and isolated if they lack support, a Massey University health psychology researcher says.

Barbara Horrell, a doctoral researcher based in Oamaru, said as the ageing population grows, more elderly people are relying on family, friends and neighbours for help.

Mrs Horrell said the informal care means more research needs to be done to understand the pressures placed on carers, sometimes described as the "sandwich generation" because they are caring for their children and parents simultaneously.

"The purpose of my study is to find out about the kinds of things that carers need, or value, to maintain their health and wellbeing while caring for older people," she said.

Mrs Horrell has set up an internet discussion group for carers nationwide who are looking after people aged 65 and over.

"The discussion group will enable carers to interact and discuss the things they feel are important for their own wellbeing."

Mrs Horrell will use the experiences of carers to inform her study, and she hopes the research will help shape public health policies.

"People may start off with the best of intentions, but when, for example, dementia progresses and personalities change, it can be very difficult for carers without adequate support and knowledge."

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