Contrary to popular belief, caregivers are not professionals trained in schools, the majority of their training is being done at home by a relative or a close friend. It may be a spouse, a daughter or a son, an in-law or their best friend. In fact, 70% of caregivers are composed of these people. Though we are trained since we were young to prepare for a life outside the classroom and to be able to support our own families, we are not as prepared to face a life that few people are prepared for: elderly care.
Let’s look at a few statistics first.
In terms of the elderly, statistics show that the elderly lack preparation for life. Given that government funding and changing demographics with the fluctuating cost of living, it is imperative that planning for this stage in life is important. It is estimated that about 11.1 million people (about 4% of the population), regardless of age, receive formal or informal care at any time. From this, about 9.5 million receive care at home or in the community while the remaining 1.6 million receive care in nursing homes or care facilities.
Also Read: The Basic Caregiver Survival Guide
For those citizens who have chronic illnesses or a disability, about 28.5 million family-based caregivers are given them assistance. On further note, this demographic consists of individuals who are 18 years and older.
Also about one out of ten households (approximately about 22.4 million households) are involved in providing care for their family members or seniors that are aged 50 and above.
Interestingly, about 43% those who are receiving care are all under the age of 65 and are evenly spread into various age groups from 18 to 64. In relation to that, the children under 18 that receive care are the one who are diagnosed with disabilities but these can be characterized in a different area of caregiving.
However, just because caregiving is being given by their relative doesn’t mean it is easy for both parties. It is not. Most of these caregivers have several concerns to address from the distance of their homes to the distance of their jobs to their one in need. One of the most common reasons why caregivers have a hard time caring for their loved ones is because of monetary reasons.
Studies estimate that these caregivers lose more than half a million in wage wealth in their lifetime because of the sacrifices they have to do in order to care for their loved ones. In terms of business productivity, there are more losses than there is profit for them. It is estimated that businesses loose about $11 to $29 billion a year because of this. Furthermore, these informal caregivers, composing of non-professional caregivers, mostly family members, spends 4.5 years providing care, though some provide more than 5 years. Research also suggests that about 20% of the total population either provide part-time or full-time care – and these only reflect on the informal caregivers.
This is why the high cost caregiving should be a major concern much like how we are concerned about the high cost of medical care. Financial impact is serious especially on who the informal caregiver is. For example, if a spouse offers care, they have to understand that it will be tough as they have to not just juggle their day jobs, their caring duties and their life but also the additional financial concerns when providing care for their loved one. This does not yet account the emotional and physical impact that will befall on them once they take the job.