Did you know the value of the free caregiver service for the elderly alone is estimated to be $375 billion a year? 80% of all caregiving is done by family and friends. “More than 65 million people, 29% of the U.S. population, provide care for a chronically ill, disabled or aged family member or friend,” with the average amount of time spent per week at 20 hours. 1.4 million caregivers are children ages 8-18 years old. “78% of adults living in the community and in need of long-term care depend on family and friends as their only source of help.” The economic statistics are eye-opening with caregiver family incomes being 15% lower, women being 2.5 times more likely to be in poverty, 20% of caregivers having to live with their loved one to provide care, complete loss of savings for 47% of caregivers, not to mention the lost sick and vacation days to provide care.
As for the caregivers themselves… Simply providing care for someone over five years can decrease the caregiver’s health to fair or poor by 23%. The caregivers often miss their own doctor’s appointments (55%), don’t go to the doctor when they need to (72%), have poorer eating habits (63%), exercise less (58%), suffer from depression (40-70%), and live 10 years less.
Given the statistics of caregivers, I, as one receiving care, will carefully watch out for my loved ones and friends and pledge to become more aware of the issues they face due to my need for assistance. For more amazing statistics on caregivers check-out http://www.caregiveraction.org/statistics/. Image of my sister-in-law, Merlaine, and I after a long journey up the Colorado mountain. Due to my balance issues and fatigue she held my hand so that I would not fall.