Family Caregiving: The Facts
Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift them up. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10
This blog is the first of a series of current true life situations that attempt to explore the heart of our human nature. I would even go so far to say that this series is called: An Analysis of the Various Dimension of the Heart.
Briefly, our heart is the entirety of life events that are responsible for shaping our spiritual formation. Whether good or bad events, these life situations predispose our mind, emotions, and will. In a word, our motives and intent are directly related to our heart!
The above Scripture reference in Ecclesiastes communicates to the over 40 millions of unpaid caregivers who provide care to someone age 18 and older who is ill or has a disability (AARP, 2008). It is my effort in presenting this data to recognize their compassion and most difficult labor of love toward a family or friend.
Below are just some most recent data that attempts to expose an every growing social phenomenon that perhaps will not change due to what experts contend that hospitals are discharging patients more abruptly to cut cost. Most caregivers now regularly perform medical tasks that used to be handled by nurses and other health-care professional.
An estimated 21% of households in the United States are impacted by caregiving responsibilities (NAC, 2004).
Unpaid caregivers provide an estimated 90% of the long-term care (IOM, 2008).
The majority (83%) are family caregivers—unpaid persons such as family members, friends, and neighbors of all ages who are providing care for a relative (FCA, 2005)
The typical caregiver is a 46 year old woman with some college experience and provides more than 20 hours of care each week to her mother (NAC, 2004).
The out-of-pocket costs for caregivers who are caring for someone who was age 50 or older averaged $5,531 in 2007. About 37% of caregivers for someone age 50 and older reduced their work hours or quit their job in 2007 (AARP, 2008).
Caregivers report having difficulty finding time for one’s self (35%), managing emotional and physical stress (29%), and balancing work and family responsibilities (29%) (NAC, 2004).
About 73% of surveyed caregivers said praying helps them cope with caregiving stress, 61% said that they talk with or seek advice from friends or relatives, and 44% read about caregiving in books or other materials (NAC, 2004).
About 30% said they need help keeping the person they care for safe and 27% would like to find easy activities to do with the person they care for (NAC, 2004).
Half (53%) of caregivers who said their health had gotten worse due to caregiving also said the decline in their health has affected their ability to provide care (NAC, 2006).
Caregivers said they do not go to the doctor because they put their family’s needs first (67% said that is a major reason), or they put the care recipient’s needs over their own (57%). More than half (51%) said they do not have time to take care of themselves and almost half (49%) said they are too tired to do so (NAC, 2004).
Father, please continue to provide Your might, Your provisions and Your Love to those who are ministering to love ones at home. Bring the needed release and assistance to these living witnesses of your faith. Please restore their souls with the Joy of Your salvation, and let not their giving be in vain!
Grace and Peace
AARP, 2008: Houser, A., et al., AARP Public Policy Institute, Valuing the Invaluable: The Economic Value of Family Caregiving, 2008 Update, 2008, http://www.aarp.org/relationships/caregiving/info-11-2008/i13_caregiving.html
FCA, 2005: Family Caregiver Alliance, Fact Sheet: Selected Caregiver Statistics, 2005. Available: http://www.caregiver.org/caregiver/jsp/content_node.jsp?nodeid=439
IOM, 2008: Institute on Medicine, Retooling for an Aging America: Building the Health Care Workforce, April 2008, www.nap.edu/catalog/12089.html
NAC, 2004: National Alliance for Caregiving/AARP, Caregiving in the U.S., 2004, http://assets.aarp.org/rgcenter/il/us_caregiving_1.pdf[PDF-1.1Mb]
NAC, 2006: National Alliance for Caregiving, Evercare Study of Caregivers in Decline, 2006, www.caregiving.org/data/Caregivers%20in%20Decline%20Study-FINAL-lowres.pdf[PDF-950Kb]