According to a study by the National Alliance for Caregiving in 2015, an estimated 43.5 million adults in the United States, provide unpaid care for a chronically ill, disabled or aged family member or friend during any given year and spend an average of 20 hours per week providing care for their loved one.
Caring for a loved one is very stressful. Caregivers need support, but most do not know how or where to find it or how to ask for it. This can lead to loneliness and depression.
If you are a caregiver, create a support system.
· Check for local caregiver support groups
· Ask people in your close circle for help
· Make taking care of yourself a priority
Highlights of Today’s Caregivers
· 82% care for one person who is likely either living with the caregiver or living within 20 minutes of the caregiver.
· 60% of caregivers are female. The typical caregiver is a 49-year-old female caring for a 69-year-old female relative, most likely her mother.
· 40% of caregivers are male.
· 34% of caregivers have a full-time job, while 25% work part time. Caregivers who work do so for 34.7 hours per week on average.
· Caregivers have been caring for 4 years on average, spending 24.4 hours per week helping with activities like bathing, dressing, housework, and managing finances.
· 32% provide at least 21 hours of care a week, on average providing 62.2 hours of care weekly.
· 38% of caregivers report high emotional stress from the demands of caregiving.
(Statistics provided by the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP: Caregiving in the U.S. 2015)
If you know someone who is caring for a loved one, call, text or send them a special card in the mail to let them know that you are thinking of them or offer help if you can (i.e. staying with the loved one while the caregiver goes to a support group). Sometimes, they just need to know that someone is thinking of them and little gestures can make a big difference.