posted by Cambia Health Solutions
on April 15, 2020
Nearly half of everyone reading this article is a caregiver.
As parents, as children, as siblings, as partners, as friends and beyond, we all want to be there for our loved ones when they need us. And often, we haven’t had any training on how to be a caregiver, or about the depth of responsibilities and tasks that are required.
To better understand how we can support caregivers on their caregiving journey, Cambia Health Solutions conducted a national survey to find out who today’s caregivers are, the challenges they face and how their caregiving responsibilities impact their personal and professional lives.
At an average age of 42, today’s caregivers are younger than previously thought and fairly split between men (47%) and women (53%). With 36% between the ages of 18-34, they are also more digitally savvy – using digital tools to help them manage caregiving responsibilities.
Researchers learned that the traditional definition of a caregiver is also evolving. No longer focused on only elder or palliative care, our study shows caregiving is provided to children and adults of every age, and to loved ones with a range of chronic or serious health conditions including behavioral and mental illnesses.
About 32 hours per week are spent on caregiving responsibilities – nearly comparable to a second full-time job. But unlike a typical job, many caregivers are flying solo and without a net – with no training and little additional help, paid or unpaid. Often juggling competing responsibilities between work and home, it can leave them feeling stressed, overwhelmed and unsupported.
From exercising to social activities to turning down promotions, 76% of caregivers are putting their lives on pause while they support their loved ones. Additionally, 1 in 5 report it’s harder to take care of themselves when they are caring for others.
Cambia’s findings also inspire hope. Despite the sacrifices, caregivers say the added responsibilities gave them greater joy than stress. Many stated they are grateful for the additional time they spend with a loved one.
It is clear from Cambia’s study that a new era of caregiving is emerging – one that demands growing levels of support not only for those who need care, but also for those who provide countless hours of care. At 45% of the U.S. population, these caregivers represent an unsung, unpaid, but critical segment of the health care system.
On behalf of Cambia, Ketchum Analytics ran “Wired for Care: The New Face of Caregiving in America Study” to better understand perceptions of caregivers and their employers as it relates to caregiving responsibilities and the effects on wellbeing and the workplace. This study consisted of two U.S. surveys – the caregiver survey and the employer survey. These surveys were fielded online by IPSOS with a 95% confidence level and a margin of error of +/-2.5%. The caregiver survey was conducted among 1,506 adults who provide care for someone else and was fielded from Sept. 17-25, 2019. Within this survey, caregivers were also asked to provide information about their recipients of care, up to four care recipients per caregiver; the total care recipient base size is 2,810. Additionally, employed caregivers have a base size of 814. The employer survey was conducted among 503 company healthcare and benefit decision makers from Sept. 17-23, 2019. Additionally, employers who are also caregivers have a base size of 128.