When we think of family caregivers, most of us likely picture an older woman caring for a spouse or an adult daughter tending to her parents. While it is true that female caregivers still outnumber men, the gap is smaller than ever before. Men are family caregivers too. For the first time, men make up almost fifty percent of family caregivers.
This change can be attributed to a variety of reasons, including:
- Higher numbers of women working outside the home
- Smaller nuclear families with fewer siblings to share care
- More men recognizing and self-identifying their role as caregivers
Trends in Family Caregiving
What other trends are occurring in family caregiving?
Turns out, quite a lot. According to a Genworth Financial study, todays caregivers are significantly younger than in past years. Fifty-eight percent of family caregivers are between ages twenty-five and fifty-four. The average age in 2018 was forty-seven versus fifty-three in 2010.
With the decline in age, the impact on the lives of family caregivers has become even more pronounced. Especially when combined with another important change: care recipients need more assistance due to accidents than illness. Thats different than in the past.
In 2010, only eleven percent of older adults needed support because of an accident. Today, that number has soared to twenty-one percent. The sudden nature of an accident-related injury may leave families unprepared to cover a loved ones needs.
How Caregiving Impacts Families
The Genworth survey also revealed how caregiving is impacting families. While eighty-two percent of loved ones say they have experienced positive feelings due to their role as care provider, there are challenges:
- Fifty percent of caregivers cited less time to spend with their spouse and children
- Forty-seven percent said the demands and duties of caregiving negatively impacted their health
- Forty-one percent suffered from mood swings and depression
- Fifty-three percent said caregiving increased their stress
The financial toll of family caregiving can also be significant. A few of the issues caregivers raised during the survey included:
- Cutting back on personal expenditures to pay for caregiving expenses
- Dipping into or reducing contributions to savings to cover the costs associated with caregiving
- Selling possessions to help finance a loved ones care
- Missing work to tend to their family member
- Cutting back on work schedules or even losing their jobs
- Feeling their careers suffered because of caregiving
For these family members, making time to explore senior care options may be the key. From adult day centers to in-home care, respite care, and assisted living, there are many avenues of support available.
From Sunrise Senior Living Blog