Majority of Caregivers Working; More Seeking Support

by Lois Etienne on March 11, 2011

in Senior Health and Safety

Q. As a full-time employee caring for my 85-year-old father, I often feel alone among my co-workers who are younger and caring for toddlers. Are there others out there like me? Where do I go for help?

Washington Caregiver And Senior Woman Preparing MealAccording to the latest study Caregiving in the U.S. 2009, you are in good company. This latest research was compiled by the National Alliance for Caregiving in collaboration with AARP and funded by The MetLife Foundation.

This latest study, which compares findings from 1997, 2004 and 2009 surveys, reveals that caregiving is still mostly a woman’s job and many women are putting their career and financial futures on hold as they juggle part-time caregiving and full-time job requirements. What’s more, 29 percent of the U.S. adult population, or 65.7 million people, are caregivers, including 31 percent of all households.

Other interesting findings:

  • While caregivers and care recipients continue to be predominately female (66 percent), they are approximately three years older now than their counterparts were five years ago. Among caregivers age 18 and older, the average age of today’s caregiver is 49, and the average age of today’s care recipient is 69.
  • A higher proportion of caregivers report helping their care recipient get into and out of beds and chairs, assisting with housework and preparing meals. There is also an increase in the proportion of caregivers who say they need help or information.
  • Approximately three-fourths of caregivers have worked while caregiving. While this has remained consistent since 2004, there has been an increase in the proportion who say they have had to make a workplace accommodation because of caregiving.
  • There are indications that caregiving is becoming more emotionally stressful for some who are experiencing more financial hardship fulfilling this role than five years ago.

One encouraging note from the study indicates that caregivers say they have increased their use of supportive services, such as outside transportation services and respite services or sitters.

Respite help is the key to maintaining a healthy balance in your life. Contact your local area agency on aging and Home Instead Senior Care to find out about the services that are available in your area.

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