How to Help Caregivers in Need of Support and Self-Care

By POCWASN (Parents of Children With All Special Needs)

Caregivers need your help. While many people don’t think about how much time, energy, and devotion it requires to be a caregiver, there is a desperate need for self-care for those who provide their assistance every day by making life easier for others who depend on them.

23% of family caregivers caring for loved ones for five years or more report their health is fair or poor.

Ex. An estimated 43.5 million adults in the United States have provided unpaid care to an adult or a child in the prior 12months. About18.2%of the respondents interviewed reported being caregivers. Thus, the estimated prevalence of caring for an adult is 16.6% or 39.8 million Americans.8 Approximately 34.2 million Americans have provided unpaid care to an adult age 50 or older in the prior 12 months.

The majority of caregivers are female (60%), but 40 percent are male. Eight in 10 are taking care of one person (82%). They are 49 years of age, on average. Many caregivers care for a relative (85%), with 49 percent caring for a parent or parent-in-law. One in 10 provides care for a spouse. Higher-hour caregivers are almost four times as likely to be caring for a spouse/partner.

Higher-hour caregivers provide 21 or more hours of care weekly, while lower-hour caregivers provide 0–20 hours of care.

Half of the caregivers feel their health is excellent or very good (48%), while 17 percent say it is fair or poor. By comparison, 10 percent of the general adult population describe their health as fair or poor. The longer a caregiver has been providing care, the more likely they will report fair or poor health.

Six in 10 caregivers report being employed at some point in the past year while caregiving. Among them, 56 percent worked full time, and on average, they worked 34.7 hours a week.

When it becomes challenging to balance caregiving with work, or if the demands of work conflict with one’s caregiving responsibilities, some caregivers change their work situation. Six in 10 caregivers report having to make a workplace accommodation due to caregiving, such as cutting back on their working hours, taking a leave of absence, receiving a warning about performance or attendance, or other such impacts. Higher-hour caregivers are more likely to report experiencing nearly all of these work impacts.

What are employers doing to support working caregivers?

One-third of caregivers (32%) say a health care provider, such as a doctor, nurse, or social worker, has asked about what was needed to care for their recipient. Half as many caregivers say a health care provider has asked what they need to take care of themselves (16%).

However, these conversations still are not occurring for most caregivers, even among those groups likely to discuss these things with health care providers.

Three in five caregivers are female (60%), and two in five are male (40%).

*Impact on physical and psychological health: Caregivers often neglect their own routine health care needs, including health maintenance and treatment. They often attribute this limited self-care to a sense that there isn’t enough time to make any of their appointments or are so tired of attending appointments with their care partner that they have medical visit fatigue. If managing their own physical and psychological medical conditions is a low priority for caregivers, they are even less likely to participate in wellness activities that can be important for themselves and those they care for.

How to Donate and Make a Difference Today

Are you interested in providing sponsorship for a parent or caregiver who requires self-care services? Sponsoring a deserving family or caregivers is a beautiful experience. Please accept our heartfelt gratitude in advance for your help. Donate today at www.POCWASN.org/donate

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