Profile of a family caregiver
Recent surveys shed light on who is providing caregiving in America to the elderly.
- An estimated 44 million Americans (21% of adult population) act as caregivers.
- An estimated 17% or 18 million households, in the US, contain at least one caregiver who provides care to the elderly.
- 88% of caregivers are related to their care recipient.
- A typical caregiver is female (61%), approximately 46 years old and spends an average of 20 hours or more per week providing care.
- One in five caregivers report providing more than 40 hours of care a week.
- About three in ten report they have been providing care for five or more years.
Many caregivers are hesitant to identify themselves with that term. The term “caregiver” signifies that they have officially taken on a new role and the negative connotations that go along with it. Many recipients balk at the word caregiving because it acknowledges that they have lost some independence and are no longer self reliant.
Family caregiver stress
While there are deep rewards for providing care, caregivers are exposed to a wide range of emotional, physical and financial stresses.
Over 57% of working caregivers say they have been late to work, leave early, or take time off during the day to provide care. Women contribute more hours, provide a higher level of burden, and feel they have less choice in assuming the responsibility than men. This increases women’s risk for emotional stress and diminished quality of life.
Of those who assume the highest level of burden, 84% say they have less time for friends and family; 76% report less time for vacations, hobbies and social activities; 49% indicate getting less exercise; and 34% report that caregiving has made their health worse.
The home care industry is a vital resource in combating these stresses. It allows for emotional support, taking care of yourself, worry-free work days, finding financial resources, and less pressure or anxiety at meeting every need and expectation. For some families, this can be a long haul. Home care will help you pace yourself when meeting the needs of yourself, family and the care recipient.