If you are taking care of an elderly parent or a child with medical needs, you’re not alone. According to one report, more than 53 million Americans are caregivers. That’s close to 20% of the U.S. population!
Being a caregiver doesn’t mean just being a parent or looking in on an elderly neighbor every once in a while. It means providing regular unpaid care for an adult or child with special needs.
The 2020 “Caregiving in the U.S.” report from AARP and the National Alliance for Caregiving says that of those 53 million caregivers, approximately 38.9 million are caring for an adult or multiple adults, 9 million are caring for both an adult and a child and 5.1 million are caring for just a child or children.
“Unpaid caregiving is increasing in prevalence and the U.S. population continues to age and live longer with more complex and chronic conditions,” says the report.
Caregivers come from all walks of life — all ages, races, genders and faiths. The approximately 1,400 caregivers surveyed for the report reported providing about 24 hours of care each week. Many (61% of those surveyed) are women. The average age of caregivers surveyed was 49.4 years old.
“While many caregivers feel their role has given them a sense of purpose or meaning (51%),” the report states, “these positive emotions often coexist with feelings of stress or strain. Caregivers report physical, emotional, and financial strain.”
Here are a few more caregiver stats from the report:
“Caregivers feel the push and pull of providing care on their time, their financial well-being, their health, their family, their work, and their own personal well-being,” says the report. “They may find themselves in need of information, resources, benefits, or programs — but these things are often difficult to find or access, or too expensive to afford. Unpaid caregivers are serving as a core piece of the health and LTSS systems, as well as the main source for long-term care for adults living at home and in the community.”
If you are caring for a family member and need support, Nonotuck Resource Associates may be able to help. Nonotuck’s Adult Family Care program provides family caregivers with services and resources such as nursing, case management, clinical care, and a biweekly stipend. The level of support depends on the situation and is determined by factors such as the complexity of medical needs of the person getting care. The program is open to both immediate and extended family members.
Learn more about the Adult Family Care program or apply to become an Adult Family Care caregiver.
Learn how Nonotuck developed a love-based ideology of care. We started our shared living program as an alternative to group homes for people with disabilities. Instead, Shared Living creates genuine life transformation for people with disabilities, as well as families and communities. The true power of caregiving is found through hospitality, authenticity, and love.