There are 40.4 million unpaid caregivers of adults ages 65 and older in the United States. Of that group, nine out of ten are providing care for an aging relative, and a plurality is caring for a parent, according to new data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Being a caregiver for a beloved family member can be an extremely taxing job on both the mind and body. Below are some shocking facts on how being a family caregiver can be hard on you and your personal life.
Adults ages 45 to 64 are the most likely to be caregivers.
Among caregivers of older adults, most provide help to one aging adult, but 22% provide help to two and 7% provide help to three or more. Roughly half of these caregivers have been providing help for two years or less. More than a third have been providing care for five or more years.
Many are also juggling their own jobs with their caregiving responsibilities. Six-in-ten (61%) caregivers are employed, including nearly half who work full-time.
In a study from the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP, more than half of family caregivers reported that their loved ones needs and required caregiving duties have caused them to sacrifice vacations, hobbies, and other activities.
These competing priorities make it hard for people of this age group since many have families to take care of on top of caring for an elderly loved one.
At least 17% of family caregivers report their physical health as fair to poor, as opposed to only 10% of the general population.
Being a caregiver can have extreme physical and mental tolls. Many caregivers experience frustration, sadness, anger, and exhaustion.
The longer someone acts as a caregiver, the more likely it is for them to experience deterioration of their own physical health. 22% of caregivers feel their health has worsened since becoming a caregiver.
Among those who have helped their parents in a matter of ways – financially, with errands housework, or home repairs or with personal care – roughly one-third (32%) say helping an aging parent is stressful.
The average yearly out-of-pocket cost for family caregivers is approximately $5,000.
According to the National Alliance for Caregiving, It’s even higher for out-of-town caregivers: $8,700 (This number includes food, travel, transportation, medical insurance co-pays, and medications).
Acting as a caregiver also comes with many financial implications. The extra expense associated with being a caregiver can mean not meeting savings goals, not taking a family vacation or struggling to support children through college.
It’s critical to take care of yourself while acting as a family caregiver. One of the best ways to do this is by regularly using respite care to relieve you of your caregiving duties, eating nutritious meals, staying organized, and finding time for yourself.
In addition to providing respite care, at Bluebird Homecare we provide daily and overnight care. If you are struggling to find time for yourself, take a moment to contact us to see how we can support you in caring for a loved one at home.