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Gainesville Florida Estate Planning & Elder Law Blog

Friday, April 18, 2014

Are You a Caregiver?

Not sure if you’re a caregiver? If you help care for a family member, friend or neighbor of any age, you are probably a caregiver. While some caregivers are paid professionals, many are family members who simply find themselves in a position where they are left to care for loved ones.  Their job is demanding and includes food shopping and cooking, house cleaning, giving medicine, helping with bathing and dressing, paying bills and providing emotional support.

Approximately 65.7 million people are considered caregivers in the United States – around 29% of the population. Of that number, 43.5 million adult family caregivers tend to someone over the age of 50, and 14.9 million care for someone who has Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.

Caregiver services were valued at $450 billion in 2009 – up from $375 billion in 2007.  Although caregiving services have substantial economic value, unpaid family caregivers will probably continue to be the largest source of long-term care services in America.

Unfortunately, 70% of working caregivers suffer from work-related difficulties.  Many caregivers are on-call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Many deal with enormous stress. In numerous cases, caregivers must make various sacrifices in order to take care of their loved ones.

  • 69% have to rearrange their work schedule, decrease their hours or take an unpaid leave in order to meet their caregiving responsibilities.
  • 5% turned down a promotion
  • 4% chose early retirement
  • 6% gave up working entirely

Caregivers can also suffer loss of wages, health insurance and other job benefits, retirement saving or investing and Social Security benefits. Around 10 million caregivers above the age of 50 who take care of their parents lose an estimated $3 trillion from lost wages, pensions, retirement funds and benefits.  The 2008 economic recession worsened matters for many caregivers.

Unfortunately, women caregivers in this group tend to see worse monetary losses than their male counterparts. They are more likely than men to have made alternative work arrangements, take a less-demanding job or give up work entirely in order to care for their parents.


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