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another adult is second job for many
7, 2004 - There are far more Americans holding "second jobs"
as family caregivers than either employers, or the federal government
are aware of – and this "second job" could pose long-term
problems for both, according to a new study released yesterday by AARP.
for the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP, funded by MetLife
Foundation, the study estimates there are 44.4 million caregivers who
provide unpaid care to another adult. Almost six in ten (59%) of these
caregivers either work or have worked while providing care. And 62
percent have had to make some adjustments to their work life, from
reporting late to work to giving up work entirely.
it's not just women, as some people might think. Almost four in ten
(39%) caregivers are men, and 60% of them are working full-time. Our
study shows a significant proportion of male caregivers. This is just
not just an issue for women, but for everyone.
study entitled "Caregiving in the U.S." was conducted to
update and expand our knowledge about the activities caregivers say they
perform, the perceived impact of caregiving on their daily lives, and
the unmet needs of this population.
Caregivers are people age 18 and
older who help another person age 18 and older with at least one of
thirteen tasks that caregivers commonly do on an unpaid basis. These
activities range from helping another manage finances, shop for
groceries, or do housework to helping another get in and out of beds or
chairs, get dressed, get to and from the toilet, bathe or shower, or
Hunt, Executive Director for NAC, said the survey sheds light on the
needs of the caregiving population. "This study found there is a
tremendous need for information and education." Two-thirds of
caregivers say they need help or information on at least one of fourteen
activities or issues that caregivers commonly face.
study indicates that three in ten caregivers carry the heaviest load.
These people provide the most hours of care, fulfill the most demanding
responsibilities, and are the most affected by their role. This group is
more likely to report physical strain, emotional stress, and financial
hardship as a result of their caregiving responsibilities compared to
caregivers who provide fewer hours of care and perform less demanding
tasks. Caregivers who provide the most intense levels of care may find
their responsibilities complicated by the fact that they tend to be
older and more likely to say their health is only fair compared to other
caregivers. Women are more likely to be providing care at the highest
levels compared to men.
eight in ten people who need care are age 50 or older (79%). Caregivers
say that older care recipients' (ages 50+) main problem is aging (15%)
and their main health problems are heart disease, cancer, diabetes,
Alzheimer's or other mental confusion. Caregivers say that younger
recipients' (ages 18-49) main problems are mental illness and depression
average length of care is 4.3 years; however, three in ten caregivers
report providing care for more than five years. Caregivers age 50 and
older – who tend to be caring for mothers and grandmothers – are
among the most likely to have provided care for 20 years or more. The
survey found that 17 percent of caregivers between the ages of 50-64
years and 18 percent of those over age 65 have been providing care for
more than a decade.
think people who are dealing with caretaking are unaware that many of
their coworkers are dealing with the same thing," AARP Board Member
Jennie Chin Hansen. "This report shows just how common this
demands placed on caregivers can be tremendous and clearly take a
physical and emotional toll," says Sibyl Jacobson, president and
CEO, MetLife Foundation. "This is an important study because it
directs attention to a growing health concern in our country, the
well-being of caregivers."
typical caregiver is female, 46 years old, married, has some college
experience, and provides care to a woman age 50 or older
than eight in ten (83%) caregivers say they assist relatives
typical care recipient is female, widowed
average age of care recipients ages 18-49 is 33 years
average age of care recipients ages 50+ is 75 years
caregivers who are caring for someone other than a spouse, the most
burdened caregivers say they make an average monthly financial
contribution of $437
one in five (17%) caregivers say they provide 40 or more hours of
care per week
value of family caregiving to society is estimated at $257 billion
report was funded by MetLife Foundation, and is based on a national
survey of 6,139 adults, 1,247 qualified as caregivers. The margin of
error for a sample this size is 2.8 percent at a 95 percent level of
National Alliance for Caregiving (NAC) is a non-profit coalition created
in 1996 to support family caregivers and the professionals who serve
them. Recognizing that family caregivers provide important societal and
financial contributions toward maintaining the well being of older
Americans, NAC was created to conduct research, develop national
projects, and increase public awareness of the issues of family
caregiving. NAC's founding partners are the American Society on Aging,
the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the National Association of Area
Agencies on Aging. The founding sponsor is Glaxo Wellcome. Current
membership includes more than 30 national organizations.