For caregivers in the United States, there are times when it feels like they are alone in the world facing a host of difficult challenges.
The challenges are certainly real. But any caregiver reading these words anywhere in the United States should know they are far from alone.
Caregivers In the United States
Many of the organizations that support caregivers, such as Hope Grows, started because there is a vast need for such help. The number of caregivers across the country has risen with each year. They now number in the millions.
The following breaks down some of the numbers on caregivers. They are taken from a variety of reports from the National Alliance For Caregivers, AARP, the U.S. government and the Alzheimer’s Association.
Millions of Caregivers
The number of caregivers in the United States reached 43.5 million in 2015. That number includes those providing unpaid care for both adults and children. The number of those who provide unpaid care for an adult 50 years of age or older reached 34.2 million in that same year.
About 15.7 million people care for someone suffering from some form of dementia, including Alzheimer’s.
Caregivers provide services that are worth a collective $470 billion. That number comes from 2013, and is higher than the amount paid by Medicaid for all patients across the country as well as home health care.
Just the free care provided to Alzheimer’s patients had a value of $217.7 billion.
Clearly, there is a huge value in what caregivers do.
On the other hand, caregivers personally feel an economic strain. The average annual household income for caregivers is $45,700. In addition to the demands of providing caregiving themselves, they also struggle to afford outside, professional care to help them. This especially impacts caregivers who live an hour or more away from the care recipient.
Women Shoulder Burden
By a large margin, women continue to take on the large percentage of caregiving duties.
Women made up 75 percent of all caregivers doing unpaid work in 2015. They also spend about four more hours per week providing care than men do, or about 21.7 hours per week.
Women also make up 65 percent of care recipients, with an average age of all female care recipients at 69.4 years old.
The Tasks Caregivers Handle
A 2015 study by the National Alliance of Caregivers and AARP offered a list that should intrigue caregivers. The list contains information on how the average caregiver spends each day. Those findings included the following.
- 13 days each month spent on cooking, shopping, housekeeping and doing laundry for care recipients
- 6 days per month on meals, dressing, bathing and assisting with toileting
- 13 hours per month going over finances related to caregiving, as well as arranging healthcare visits and researching care services
- 96 percent of caregivers help recipients with everyday life activities, including getting into and out of the bed, bathing, personal hygiene and dressing and undressing
Caregivers in the United States provide much needed services. It’s a difficult task that can sometimes make a caregiver feel it is them against the world. The numbers above should help them know they are far from alone.
For those seeking support in their caregiving efforts, do not hesitate to reach out to Hope Grows, which provides support for caregivers in a variety of ways. Those include talking to people who know exactly what a caregiver is going through, because like millions of others, they have been there.