Cancer affects millions of Americans each year. More and more working families are affected by the care of a family member with cancer. If you're a caregiver, you are not alone. You've probably heard that before, but you may not know just how much company you have. A recent study by the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP found that 44.4 million Americans age 18 or older are providing unpaid care to an adult. If we had to pay for this care, it would cost approximately $257 billion per year.
The typical caregiver is a 46-year-old Baby Boomer woman with some college education who works and spends more than 20 hours per week caring for her mother who lives nearby.
- Female caregivers provide more hours of care and provide a higher level of care than male caregivers.
- Almost seven in ten (69%) caregivers say they help one person.
- The average length of caregiving is 4.3 years.
- Many caregivers fulfill multiple roles. Most caregivers are married or living with a partner (62%), and most have worked and managed caregiving responsibilities at the same time (74%).
Caregivers and Work
Who Do Caregivers Care For?
- Almost 60% of all caregivers either work or have worked while providing care.
- 62% have had to make adjustments to their work life, such as reporting late to work or giving up work entirely.
- Male caregivers are more likely to be working full or part-time than female caregivers (66% vs. 55%)
Caregivers' Unmet Needs
- Most caregivers (89%) are helping relatives.
- Nearly 80% of care recipients are over fifty with the other 20% 18-49.
- Caregivers who help someone age 50 or older say the most common health problems the person they care for has are diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.
- One quarter of caregivers helping someone age 50 or older reports the person they care for is suffering from Alzheimer's, dementia, or other mental confusion in addition to a cancer diagnosis.
- The most frequently reported unmet needs are finding time for myself (35%), managing emotional and physical stress (29%), and balancing work and family responsibilities (29%).
- About three in ten caregivers say they need help keeping the person they care for safe (30%) and finding easy activities to do with the person they care for (27%).
- One in five caregivers say they need help talking with doctors and other healthcare professionals (22%) or making end-of-life decisions (20%)