You are a 49-year-old woman caring for a 69-year-old female relative, most likely your mother. If you have an outside job, you do that work nearly 35 hours a week. You’ve been caring for mom for four years, about 24 hours each week. You are more likely than not to be helping her with medical or nursing-type tasks, including complex things like shots, tube feedings, catheters and colostomy needs.
Sound familiar? If so, you are a typical family caregiver in the United States.
That’s according to Caregiving in the U.S. 2015, a new report released jointly by the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP. The groups surveyed 1,248 adults providing care for a person of any age; the research was done online in late 2014.
Though the report described a “typical” caregiver, it stressed that “caregivers as a whole are becoming as diverse as the American population.”
And there will be a greater need for them than ever in coming years.
The “2014 Older Adult Caregiver Study” by the Families and Work Institute focused on caregivers and employment.
In a random online sample of 1,050 adults, conducted in June 2014, 66% of caregivers reported being employed in the previous five years. Half changed their work schedules to provide the care while working the same number of hours. Forty-one percent worked fewer hours than they would have ordinarily wanted to. Nearly 30% took a leave to care for an elder. And 11% quit their jobs. Of those, about half said they quit because their employers were not flexible enough to allow them to work and provide care.
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