The National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP released a new report about caregivers in the U.S. It is an update of the last one issued in 2004. In just 5 years, I am amazed by some of the new information and how significantly some of the numbers changed.
The report is based on interviews with 1,480 caregivers throughout the U.S. These caregivers are unpaid, family caregivers. Of the caregivers interviewed 32% were minorities, including African-Americans, Hispanics and Asian-Americans.
Interesting facts about caregivers
· There are 65 million caregivers in the U.S. or 30% of the adult population
· 66% of caregivers are female
· Average age of caregivers is 48
· 86% of caregivers care for a relative; 36% care for a parent
· 65% have been caregiving less than 5 years; 31% 5 years or more
Observations: The total number of caregivers is a dramatic increase because in 2004, the projection was 44.4 million. Also the average age of caregivers increased indicating that younger caregivers under the age of 50 declined. This means the responsibility of caregiving continues to fall on the shoulders of baby boomer women. In addition, the percentage of those caregiving for 5 years and longer is increasing because of the longer life span of the aging population.
Top 10 reasons why recipients need care (includes percentage of respondents)
1. Old Age 12%
2. Alzheimer’s/Dementia 10%
3. Cancer 7%
4. Mental/Emotional illness 7%
5. Heart Disease 5%
6. Stroke 5%
7. Diabetes 4%
8. Mobility 4%
9. Surgery/Wounds 4%
10. Arthritis 3%
Observations: Alzheimer’s/Dementia is the #1 illness mentioned and the most prevalent amongst an increasingly older population. If we expect to live longer, we can no longer deny that there might be a possibility that we will be afflicted with any one or more of these illnesses. Still, it amazes me how many seniors are in denial about long term care for themselves in terms of financial planning and preparing advanced directives. I cannot advocate it enough. I have seen too many negative experiences in my own family from lack of legal and financial preparation.
Interesting facts about care recipients
· Average age of care recipients is 69.3 (an increase from 66.5 in 2004 because of the growing aging population)
· 51% live in their own home; 29% live in the caregiver’s household
· 4% live in nursing homes; 4% live in assisted living facilities
Observations: It seems more care recipients are being cared for in their own homes. The concept of aging in place is alive and growing. The demand for more services to help caregivers and seniors age in their own homes will certainly increase. I am thrilled by this information because we developed a variety of free tools on eCare Diary, such as the appointment and medication management tool, precisely for this reason, to make life easier and to enable independent living.
· The number of caregivers reporting poor health as a result of caregiving increased
· 73% of caregivers are also employed while giving care
· The demand for more information on caregiving is increasing
· 53% of caregivers have used the internet to find information
· 45% reported having used some sort of technology in the care of the recipient
Observations: The importance of caregivers caring for themselves and finding ways to manage couldn’t be more relevant when you read these statistics. We are especially pleased to be in partnership with Margery Pabst, author of “Enrich Your Caregiving Journey,” who is an expert and writes monthly for us on caring for the caregiver. Also, I am thrilled to report that advances in technology to assist in caregiving will be part of our future. These advances will help caregivers manage, reduce stress, and save time. I am writing a new blog on this very soon. Stay tuned.
We welcome your thoughts and comments below.