Are you a new caregiver? If so, congratulations! You’ve joined a group of amazing people who do great stuff every day. You are one of the many people in the world who make sure a family member or friend lives a healthier, safer life, whether in their own home or in yours. If you’re wondering about what you’ve gotten yourself into and feeling a little alone, here are five facts about being a caregiver that you should know about being a caregiver.
#1 You Are Far from Alone
According to the Pew Research Center, there are 40.4 million Americans who are caregivers to people who are aged 65 or older. Of those people, 65 percent are female. 82 percent of caregivers are responsible for one adult, 15 percent care for two, and 3 percent care for three or more adults. 15.7 million caregivers are providing assistance to people with Alzheimer’s disease.
#2 Your Time is Invaluable
Family caregivers don’t get paid for what they do. They may have many reasons for being caregivers. They may do it because it’s the right thing to do, out of a sense of responsibility, or because they cannot bear to think of the person being on their own. Whatever the reason, family caregivers do a job for free, but the estimated value of the time of all caregivers combined is about $470 billion dollars per year.
#3 Your Time is Well Spent
Ever wonder what caregivers spend their time doing? Here’s how research shows they spend their time:
- 13 days per month are spent doing household tasks like cleaning, cooking, shopping, doing laundry, and driving their family member around.
- 13 hours per month are used to research a condition, schedule and coordinate medical appointments, and handling financial matters.
- 6 days a month are spent helping with personal care tasks, like dressing, bathing, grooming, walking, and eating.
#4 You Might Be the Average Age
A person might find themselves a caregiver at any age, but statistics have determined that the average age of caregivers in the United States is 49.2 years old. People who are ages 18 through 49 make up 48 percent of caregivers. People who are 65 or older account for 34 percent of caregivers.
#5 Caregivers Also Provide Emotional Support
Pew Research says 68 percent of caregivers report that they supply emotional support to the older adult at least once in a while. 33 percent say they do so on a regular basis. Women are more likely to be emotional support providers than are men.