Increases in life expectancy and the aging of the baby boomer generation has resulted in unprecedented high numbers of older adults in the U.S. and Canada and, thus, a rising number of frail older adults with chronic medical conditions. Informal caregivers, primarily family members, have traditionally provided a large proportion of care at home, and their contribution is expected to be of even greater significance. Informal caregivers provide care at great expense to themselves, because caregiving can result in emotional, physical, and financial stresses. This article discusses the role physicians play in identifying and alleviating caregiver stress.
Key words: family caregivers, informal caregivers, caregiver stress, physician, older adults.