When was the last time you thought about how caregiving would be handled once you or your loved one’s health starts declining?
It is an important question to ask yourself because more and more people are needing care in America as our population ages. Yet most of the care provided in the United States right now is by unpaid family members or friends.
In fact, millions of individuals provide care to their family and friends unpaid. As it stands, about 42 million (or 17 percent) of American adults are providing unpaid caregiving services to family or friends older than 50, according to statistics from a 2020 AARP study on caregiving in the U.S.
This study also found that caregivers report that the adults who receive care (the “care recipient”) have more severe health and functional needs than was reported by caregivers in a similar study from 2015.
“Compared to 2015, caregivers are more likely to report their adult care recipient needs care because of long-term physical conditions (63 percent, up from 59 percent in 2015), emotional or mental health issues (27 percent, up from 21 percent), and memory problems (32 percent, up from 26 percent), including Alzheimer’s disease or dementia (26 percent, up from 22 percent in 2015),” stated the AARP study.
And about $5,000 per year is lost in wages of family caregivers, according to a 2019 study in the journal, Health Affairs. What’s more, unpaid caregivers can expect to spend about 20 percent of their own money caring for their loved one, according to a separate AARP study.
Additionally, as the population ages and more seniors need long-term care, “the number of family members available to provide that care is contracting — a consequence of baby boomers having fewer children than their parents. This means more pressure and less help for everyone, with no relief in sight,” notes a recent column in The New York Times.
You’re Not Alone
What does all of this mean? Caregiving is a major undertaking for families and should involve planning as much as possible because it has a cost: time lost from work and consequently, wages. Another cost is the emotional toll. The stress and isolation from caregiving can lead to not just anxiety and depression but also physical health issues as we’ve written about before.
It’s important to point out that caregiving isn’t just helping loved ones with managing activities of daily living (ADLs) like bathing, eating and getting dressed, which is a lot to manage on its own. Family caregiving can also include taking over our loved one’s everyday tasks like mail sorting and organization, bill paying and home maintenance (both indoor and outdoor) and many other tasks.
Now that you’ve read some of the latest facts, what is your plan?
If you don’t yet have a plan, Life Managers & Associates can help. We can assist you not only in planning for loved ones to safely age in place but we can also take over some of the tasks like bill paying and home maintenance and organization — at any time for any length of time — so you can spend that time properly caring for your loved one.
Assess Your Home Package: Life Managers & Associates’ Assess Your Home package is conducted by a National Association of Home Builders Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist (CAPS), who thoroughly reviews the home and identifies modification options — both major or minor — to support aging in place.
Life Managers & Associates manages the details of life with the same care as a loving family member to enable clients to live independently. We help them feel safe and supported — saving money and alleviating stress for all.