Fast Facts About Working Caregivers
Approximately 64% of caregivers of the elderly are employed. They spend an average of 18 to 40 hours per month caregiving. (Families USA Foundation, 1997)
Two-thirds of working caregivers report conflicts between work and caregiving which require them to rearrange their work schedules, work fewer than normal hours, and/or take unpaid leaves of absence.
Caregiver stress accounts for a 27% increase in use of company health insurance benefits. (Cincinnati Area Senior Services, 2001)
The aggregate costs of caregiving in lost productivity to U.S. businesses are as much as $29 billion when the person receiving care is aged 50 or greater. (MetLife, 1997). The costs are much greater when all care recipients are included in the calculations.
One recent report estimates that baby boomers will end up spending 17 years caring for a child and 18 years caring for an aging parent.
(Star-Tribune of the Twin Cities Minneapolis-St. Paul, June 15, 1998)
Do family caregiving programs benefit employers as much as employees?
YES, according to research compiled by the NDSU Extension Service, North Dakota State University of Agriculture and Applied Science:
- The Ford Foundation report from Boston University's Center on Work and Family summarized 10 years of research. The report said that family-friendly policies and programs reduced absenteeism and stress and improved morale.
- Aetna found its family programs increased retention of its highest performers from 77 percent to 91 percent.
- A survey by the Commerce Clearing House listed the hidden costs of unscheduled absences, saying the costs of those absences ranged from an average $45,000 for small firms to more than $1.5 million for companies with up to 5,000 employees.
- Waste Management reported its Family Life Education program reduced some unscheduled absences as well as decreased benefit claims and improved productivity. The company documented a savings of $1,600 per participant to offset the $200 per person cost.
- A GMAC Mortgage evaluation showed work and family programs had improved profitability by decreasing turnover, lateness and unplanned absenteeism and enhancing the company's image.
- The Putnam Companies, Boston, and several other firms reported providing emergency or back-up care cut absences and increased productivity.
- A Chicago University study for Fel-Pro, Inc., Skokie, Ill., found family-friendly benefits were instrumental in reducing turnover.
What is the cost to the employee?
The average lifetime loss in total wealth for caregivers who are forced to leave their jobs, reduce working hours, or refuse promotions is more than $650,000 (includes wages, benefits, pensions, and social security). (NAC and AARP, 1997)
Working caregivers who quit or drastically reduced their hours have the highest level of stress, and relatives with the most severe behavioral problems. Leaving the workplace causes an annual income loss of about $20,400 per employee. (U.S. Department of Labor, 1998)
Nursing facility care costs, on average, $41,000 per year, with Medicare paying only 10 percent of long-term care costs. (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services)
One-third of all caregivers describe their own health as fair to poor. (Institute for Health and Aging)
Caregivers often indicate they are not sure they will "out-survive" the people for whom they are caring; thus, there are often two "at risk" persons in the making: the caregiver and the person cared for. (Institute for Health and Aging)
Nearly half (47 percent) of employed caregivers spend more than 40 hours per week on caregiving activities. (NFCA/Fortis, 1998)
What defines a family caregiver?
Family caregivers are the immediate family, relatives by blood, marriage, or adoption, partners, or close friends who directly provide care, manage the care of, or pay for the care of people who need medical and non-medical assistance, emotional support, and advocacy because they are ill, disabled, or aged and frail, according to the Institute for Health and Aging.
- Most caregivers are female (73 percent). The average caregiver is 46 years old, while the average age of the person being cared for is 77. (NAC/AARP, 1997)
- Typically caregivers are married (66 percent), have at least a high-school education, and are likely to be raising children under the age of 18. (NAC/AARP, 1997)
- Caregivers dedicate, on average, 20 hours per week to provide care for older persons and even more time when the older person has multiple disabilities. (U.S. Administration on Aging)
- More than one-third of caregivers provide assistance with activities of daily living for people ages 64 and under. (Feinberg, 1995)
- Approximately 14.4 million full- and part-time employed caregivers are now balancing work with their caregiving (and, frequently, child care) responsibilities. (NAC/AARP, 1997)
- Forty-one percent of caregivers have children, too. Part of the "sandwich generation," many women will spend more years caring for a parent than they do raising a child. (NAC/AARP, 1997)
- Caregivers of the elderly spend an average of $279 per month on care-related activities. (U.S. Department of Labor, 1998)
- It's estimated that 45% of caregivers have been providing care for over 5 years.
- Over half of all caregivers help with at least one of the following daily activities: bathing, dressing, grooming, using the toilet, food preparation and feeding, walking and basic mobility (getting out of bed or a chair). Almost a third help with three or more of these activities. (NAC/AARP, 1997)
- Bearing the long-term care responsibilities for an older relative or friend with disabilities places heavy emotional strain on the caregiver and often results in depression. (U.S. Administration on Aging)
The Big Picture: Caregiving in American Society
The US Department of Labor estimates that 30 percent of the work force is currently involved in caring for an aging parent or relative. Over the next 10 years, the government expects that figure to jump to 54 percent. (David Molpus, National Public Radio, July 15, 1999)
Nineteen percent of elders live with family caregivers who work; 46% live 20 minutes or less from the working caregiver; and 18% live over an hour away. (NAC and AARP, 1997)
42% of full-time employees expect to take on caregiving duties within five to seven years. (MetLife, 1999)
The majority of caregivers say they would like to obtain information about options, providers, and support services, but don't know where to look. (National Institute of Business Management, 2000)
In one in four American households, someone is caring for a relative age 50 or older. Of the older persons receiving paid and unpaid assistance, 95% have family and friends involved in their care. (NAC/AARP, 1997).
Estimates suggest that the value of family caregivers to the health care system is about $196 billion each year, compared to $32 billion per year spent for paid home care and $83 billion per year for nursing home care. (Arno et. al., 1999)
About 34% of caregivers say that they get no help from their family or friends. (The New England Elder Life Planning Symposium, 1999.)
In 1990, an estimated 83% of those with chronic conditions under age 65 relied on family caregivers; for those 65 and older it was 73%. (Institute for Health and Aging 1996).
Nearly 7 million Americans provide long distance care to an elderly loved one. (National Council on the Aging, 1997)
One of the largest drivers of the growth in family caregiving is the aging of America. The number of Americans age 65 and above will increase from 34 million to over 70 million in the next 30 years. (U. S. Bureau of the Census Data, March 1996)