The 2011 American Time Use Survey studied how we provide care to people age 65 and older. The study revealed that close to 16% of the population over age 15 were providing unpaid eldercare in some form – that is one out of every six people ( or roughly 40 million people) who are at least 15 years old! And keep in mind that this does not include those caregivers who do this for a living.
Some other interesting statistics:
More than 23% of eldercare providers are also parents of at least one child under the age of 18.
42% of eldercare is provided to a parent
1/5 of the 40 million unpaid caregivers spend an average of over three hours a day providing care and 23% said they provided care several days a week.
20% of eldercare is provided to a grandparent, 20% to another relative, and 25% to a non-relative.
4% is provided to a spouse or domestic partner.
People may provide care to more than more individual at a time.
In addition to the obvious emotional toll, the financial impact to caregivers is enormous.
A Genworth Financial study on the True Impact of Long Term Caring indicated that 83% of caregivers contributed financially to the care of an older person, and 57% had to use their own retirement savings to do so. 29% borrowed money to help pay for care. 63% reported an average loss of 23% of household income.
Not to mention the impact on family and other relationships.
There are also consequences to careers. 44% of caregivers reported having to work less hours, 38% had repeated absences from work and 17% were repeatedly late for work.
All of this has implications not only for caregivers but for employers as well as there is the economic impact of lost productivity.
To help, many employers offer educational programs and resources to employees who may be worried about caregiving issues. The SAFE initiative offered by The Bristal is one such option that is designed to help companies provide staff with options, alternatives and access to community resources when they are faced with the unique challenges of caring for an older adult. Check with your employer’s Human Resources or Employee Assistance Program to see what is offered at your place of work.