The word “caregiver” has many connotations. Hearing the word, we may think of the parent or guardian of a young child. Someone caring for an aging parent. An older person caring for their spouse. Or even a paid caregiver, a home health aide, or a babysitter.
These answers are all correct.
But who are caregivers, really? What are their concerns and challenges? And how can we best help them?
A Glimpse at Our Nation’s Caregivers
The Caregiving in the U.S. report, a survey put together by the National Caregivers Alliance and the AARP, provides insight into caregiver demographics, duties, and challenges.
The statistics about who our nation’s caregivers really are may surprise you.
- The “average” caregiver, as one might expect, is a woman, age 49, caring for an older relative.
- Just 40 percent of caregivers are male.
- Nearly 25 percent of all caregivers are between the ages of 18 and 34.
- The average caregiver spends 24.4 hours a week providing care, making them a “higher hour” caregiver.
- 23 percent of caregivers provide 41+ hours of care per week.
Financial Challenges of Caregivers
The average household income for a caregiver is just $47,500. This doesn’t leave much room in the budget for paid time off related to caregiving or to hire outside help to assist with services such as delivered meals, transportation, in-home health services or respite care.
In addition to the financial strain of caregiving, 46 percent of caregivers who provide more than 21 hours per week of unpaid care report experiencing emotional stress as a result of their duties.
And many don’t see an end in sight. Most have been caring for their loved one an average of 4.5 years, and predict they will be doing so for at least five years more.
For caregivers in danger of experiencing burn-out, it could be worthwhile to consider respite care to get a break for a week or two. Or consider taking advantage of adult day programs, even if only for a few hours a week.
Providing Nursing Care for Loved Ones
Six in 10 higher hour caregivers report performing medical or nursing care duties without instruction or training, and 20 percent of those say they find it difficult to do.
Are You a Caregiver Who Needs a Break?
Would your loved ones needs be met in an assisted living community? Five Star Senior Living provides a variety of services ranging from respite care to assisted living and memory care. If you’re a caregiver in danger of burn-out, National Family Caregiver Month may be the time to consider your options for senior care.