New Study Provides Profiles of Today’s Caregivers

A new study has revealed key attributes of today’s caregivers, including the fact that many struggle to maintain jobs while also caring for family members.

The study from the nonprofit foundation TransAmerica Institute was released in September. It includes information from more than 3,000 nonprofessional caregivers across the country.

Today’s Caregivers

Among the key findings is that more than half of caregivers hold a job while also providing caregiving duties, putting a strain on their relationship with employers. Many also burn vacation and sick time to care for family members.

For those feeling the stress of providing care, Hope Grows can offer support in a variety of ways. They include not only someone to talk to about your situation, but also gardening and other activities that can lower stress and increase wellbeing.

The following presents more details about the survey findings.

Generational Differences

Today’s caregivers typically take care of a family member. In fact, that role makes up 87 percent of all caregivers. However, there are significant differences based on the age of the caregiver.

For the purposes of the study, generations are divided by the following age groups: Millennials (born between 1979 and 2000), Generation X (born between 1965 and 1978), Baby Boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) and Matures (born before 1946).

The findings included:

  • 42 percent of both Generation Xers and Baby Boomers are more likely to provide care for parents
  • 57 percent of Matures are taking care of a spouse or partner
  • 21 percent of Millennials are taking care of grandparents, while 9 percent of Generation X is doing the same
  • 14 percent of Millennials and 12 percent of Generation X are providing care for children

The Duties of Today’s Caregivers

The numbers show the struggle caregivers face in having the time to provide care. It’s essentially a full-time, unpaid job for many. The study found that 36 percent of caregivers spent 100 hours or more per month providing care. The median time spent per month providing care was 50 hours among all caregivers surveyed.

Typical duties included:

  • 89 percent did common household chores and duties
  • 69 percent helped with healthcare needs, including transportation to appointments
  • 43 percent managed paying bills and other finance-related duties
  • The most time was spent providing companionship, meal preparation and personal care and feeding

Juggling Employment

As stated above, many caregivers work full-time and must find ways to balance earning a living with providing caregiving to a family member. The survey found that 52 percent of today’s caregivers hold either a full-time or part-time job.

Three out of four caregivers said that providing help to a family member has led to a change at their employment, ranging from having to use vacation or sick days to having to quit their job.

Another two out of five said that being a caregiver has led to a strained relationship with their employer.

The new study provides a quick, data-based snapshot of who is providing caregiving as well as the challenges they face. The end goal for studies such as this is finding ways to supports the millions of caregivers in the United States, allowing them to care for family while also making ends meet in their own households.

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