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INTRODUCTION

The fastest growing sector of the population will be elderly. This phenomenon is expected to be observed
across all races, including the nation's largest racial/ethnic minority groups. With an aging population, the
need for dependent care is likely to increase. As current service-use patterns reveal, the overwhelming
responsibility for the provision of home care and long-term care services. Informal caregivers will likely
continue, or expand, their role as primary caretakers well into the 21st century.

Caregiver issues can affect both professional caregivers who are paid to provide care to individuals in
their homes or in a health care setting and unpaid individuals who provide care to a loved one, friend, or
family member. These issues may include stress, isolation, and fatigue, to name a few. It can be
rewarding to care for a loved one or family member, but it can also be stressful, traumatic, or otherwise
difficult. Many caregivers are statistically more likely to experience stress if they are female, have
depression or are socially isolated, or if they have financial difficulties. Living with the person one cares
for, spending a high number of hours providing care, and difficulty with coping or problem-solving are
also risk factors for caregiver stress and burnout.