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CDC: One-eighth of unpaid caregivers experiencing cognitive decline

One in five adults in the U.S. provide unpaid health care and support to a family member or friend.

But caregiving can also take a mental toll, one that can hinder vital tasks like giving medicines or managing finances.

In a CDC analysis of data from caregivers ages 45 and older in 22 states, almost 13% self-reported worsening or more frequent confusion or memory loss over the past year, compared to just over 10% of non-caregivers.

Affected parties were predominately male, employed and more likely to have chronic health conditions, mental distress, depression and activity limitations.

Cognitive declines can hint at early-stage dementia or arise from a treatable health condition.

Either way, they suggest caregivers might benefit from some support of their own.

Nicholas Gerbis was a senior field correspondent for KJZZ’s Arizona Science Desk from 2016 to 2024.