A family caregiver provides unpaid assistance to a family member or friend with a chronic disease, illness or disability. The caregiving process can affect a caregiver’s quality of life by reducing time for themselves, other family members and for work. The 2000 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey estimates that 16 % of adult American Indians (AIs) are caregivers.
[Photo: Ms. Felina Cordova]
Ms. Felina Cordova, a doctoral student at the University of Arizona Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health and colleagues reviewed the findings from the 2012 Hopi Survey of Cancer and Chronic Disease that collected knowledge and personal experience data from a random sample of Hopi men and women (248 men and 252 women). The study is published this month in the Journal of Community Health.
Self-identified caregivers answered questions on time spent caregiving, caregiver difficulties and services requested. Approximately 20 percent of the 500 Hopi participants self-identified as caregivers (N = 98), with 56 percent female. Caregivers in contrast to non-caregivers had a lower percentage of ever having a mammogram (86, 89 %), a higher percentage of ever having had a Pap smear test (89.1, 85.6 %), a prostate specific antigen test (35, 30.6 %) and ever having had a colonoscopy (51.2, 44 %). Almost 21 % of caregivers reported difficulty with stress and 49 percent reported it as their greatest caregiver difficulty. More males (28.6 %) identified financial burden as the greatest difficulty than females (p = 0.01).
Training on patient care was the service that caregivers would like to receive most (18.2 %). The percentage of Hopi’s providing caregiving was similar to national averages, although among men, was somewhat higher than national data (44 vs. 34 %). Stress was identified as a difficulty, similar to national studies.