A recent survey by Securian Financial found that most unpaid family caregivers struggle to maintain their financial and emotional wellbeing. The survey covered 800 people who are providing or have provided unpaid care to a parent, in-law, or spouse who is aging, or has a disability, or chronic disease. It found:
“[T]he majority of caregivers (60 percent) spend more than 10 hours per week caring for a family member, and about one in four (29 percent) spend more than 20 hours per week. Women (32 percent) are more likely than men (26 percent) to spend more than 20 hours each week on caregiver duties.
More than half (55 percent) of caregivers characterized their role as “supportive.” However, one-third indicated they feel “concerned” (33 percent) or “overwhelmed” (32 percent) by their caregiving responsibilities.”
These tremendous time commitments often cause a negative ripple effect into caregiver’s personal life. The study also found:
“The most difficult aspects of life for caregivers to maintain are emotional stability (60 percent) and a healthy balance between the time they spend caregiving and with immediate family members (56 percent). Other areas caregivers struggle with are keeping up with day-to-day tasks (54 percent) and maintaining their own financial well-being (52 percent), with one in six people (17 percent) finding it very difficult to sustain their financial well-being.”
Caregiving Also Negatively Impacts Job Performance
In addition to experiencing increased stress levels at home, the heavy responsibilities that come with caregivers are also felt at the office.
“Half (50 percent) of those who held jobs while they were a caregiver say it affected their job performance, with the most common impact being the need to take days off from work (41 percent).
In addition, more than one-fifth of caregivers (22 percent) say their hours or responsibilities at work were reduced due to their caregiving commitment. Moreover, 15 percent of employed caregivers had to take a leave of absence from work, and 12 percent said they quit work altogether because of their caregiving responsibilities.”
This survey further underscores the high cost of family caregiving, especially for women. By some estimates, the cost impact on the individual female caregiver in terms of lost wages and Social Security benefits equals $324,044.
Few Available Options
So why do many Americans find themselves stuck in this untenable situation? For starters, Medicare doesn’t offer long-term care insurance. And the cost of purchasing coverage on the private market has been increasing rapidly in recent years. What’s more, live-in care costs can run $3,000 – $5,000 and more every month. Few families have those kinds of resources in reserve. So for many people, providing free care appears to be the only available option. But when the associated personal and professional costs are so high, is there a better option? Fortunately there is.
Home Care Fills the Gap
In the face of such high psychological and financial costs, caregivers will benefit from a bit of outside help. Home care providers employ CNA’s and caregivers who can help fill the gaps for family members while they work, run errands, or just relax. Even short breaks can be incredibly beneficial and offer family members the opportunity to stay engaged in their work and attend to their own emotional needs. Moreover, the cost of in-home caregiving is much less than the cost of residential care. And seniors who use professional caregivers can often delay a move into assisted living for many years, and the process save tens of thousands of dollars.
If you live in the greater Phoenix area and would like to learn more about how in home care works, we’d be happy to talk. Generations Home Care provides helps our clients live independently for longer, and their family members better integrate caregiving into their own lives. You can reach us by phone at 602-595-HOME(4663) or by filling out our contact form. You don’t have to provide unlimited free caregiving to your family members. There is an option that can help. Contact us to learn more.