Census data and other research has shown that about 10,000 baby boomers are turning 65 every day. Boomers make up about 26 percent of the U.S. population, so by 2030, about 19 percent of the entire population will be considered elderly, the Pew Research Center reports. As the number of seniors grows, the amount of caregiver stress will also increase.
In massive numbers, boomers - whether they are being cared for or providing the care - are also causing the trend of caregiving to explode. Millions of Americans are now serving as caregivers to their loved ones, and many are facing stress from this role.
In a recent survey of 1,226 adults in the U.S., the American Psychological Association (APA) found that 55 percent of caregivers reported feeling stressed from their role. In addition, 22 percent of participants reported "extreme stress" and 39 percent said that their stress had increased over the last year.
With caregiving duties set to grow in number and intensity, CNN reports that caregivers need to prepare for it with stress-reducing techniques.
"It takes an incredible amount of self-awareness but you have to be willing to say I need help, I'm not omnipotent," psychologist Fran Walfish, caregiver to her 90-year-old father, told the news outlet. "It's impossible to be all things to everyone, so what we have to do is have honest straight talk with ourselves about how much we can handle and when we seek help from others."
The report from the APA also emphasizes the impact that stress can have on boomers and caregiving trends even further down the road. High stress levels can lead to high cholesterol and blood pressure, as well obesity and depression, all of which can have serious public health consequences later on.
Looking for respite care options may help caregivers make time for themselves, relieving stress and improving their ability to care for their loved ones. Felicia Hudson, a caregiver to her father, told CNN this was what happened to her once she reached out and got help from an elder care program.
"It's a godsend," she told the news outlet. "I'm finally getting my life back."