The National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP released a joint report which surveyed 1,248 adult caregivers. As discussed in a Forbes article titled, “Who America’s Caregivers Are And Why It Matters,” the report found that the typical caregiver is a 49 year old woman caring for a 69 year old female relative, working 35 hours a week and caring for their loved one for four years, about 24 hours every week. While this may be the “average” caregiver in the United States, the report also stressed that caregivers are an increasingly diverse group.
The report also found that 40 million Americans provided unpaid care in the last year and that 1 in 10 caregivers are 75 or older. Also, 40% of caregivers are male and total caregiving hours are highest for those caring for a spouse. Perhaps most shockingly, 50% of caregivers reported not having a choice in becoming caregiver for a loved one.
The report concluded by discussing the caregivers who report feeling the most stress. The most stressed caregivers have more complex roles or provide 21 or more hours of care each week. Most of the high-hour caregivers are required to perform stressful and complex tasks such as medical care with no training. These caregivers stated that becoming a caregiver made their own health worse due to stress. It is important for caregivers to remember that there are many services available to ease the burden of becoming a caregiver. While this report paints a rather bleak picture of caregiving in America, an elder law attorney can help alleviate stress by fully exploring your caregiving options.