The burden on caregivers

Most caregivers are median-age women who are not accounted for in statistical data and whose work often goes unnoticed.

Many have children and even grandchildren, have married more than once, and seem to be predestined to care for others.

Out of 11.2 million inhabitants in Cuba, 95,784 (18.6 percent of the total) were 60 or over by the end of 2013, according to the National Office of Statistics and Information (ONEI) Yearbook.

Life expectancy is 78 years (76 for men and 80 for women), it revealed.> Against this background, specialists highlight the need for care of this population group in a country marked by patriarchal traditions: men are considered to be providers and women, caregivers.

Psychiatrist Ada Alfonso believes that this poses a social and health problem that should be addressed as a matter of urgency.

Fatigue and stress make caregivers abandon their life projects and neglect their appearance.

«Such an overburden has a negative impact on their lives, including their sexuality,» she indicated at a workshop organized by the Network on Gender and Collective Health at the Cuban Society of Public Health.

«They usually have to stop working to look after their parents and other family members,» she concluded.

Translated by Adolfo Fuentes

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