Caregivers who live with the care recipient face report increased rates of physical and emotional distress in comparison to caregivers who do not live with the care recipient, including not being able to get enough sleep or engaging in healthy eating patterns (Pinquart & Sorensen, 2007). Research indicates that caregivers who live with the care recipient are also much more likely to report experiencing financial problems than caregivers who do not (Thompson, 2004). Employed caregivers who provide dependent care to an older adult are more likely to be unmarried women without any children (Duxbury, Higgins & Schroeder, 2009). Caregivers who live with the care recipient and also providing care to dependent children report higher rates of role stress – competing demands by differing care recipients.
Spousal caregivers often feel extreme rates of stress as they have few, if any, breaks from caregiving. Spousal caregivers may also feel a sense of obligation to care for their spouse well beyond their abilities. Loss of intimacy and role changes within marriage may case additional emotional distress. Where dementia exists, spousal caregivers are especially vulnerable to loss of their own identity and self-definition (Greenberg, Stacy & Penzo, 2001). Caregiving spouses, compared to non-spouse caregivers, resist institutional placement of the care recipient for a longer period of time despite level of disability (Miller, 1990).