Caregiving: A growing field

May 11, 2006

Usually one family member is the primary caregiver. Women make up 75% and are either a spouse or an adult daughter. Nearly two-thirds of caregivers are working full or part-time.

Spouses, on average, provide 40-60 hours of care per week and adult children provide 15-30 hours of care per week.

The Economic Value of the care provided by families is $196 billion nationwide (1997) – $13.5 billion in New York.

Caregiving costs U.S. businesses an estimated $11.4 billion per year in lost productivity by contributing to the following: replacing employees, absenteeism, partial absenteeism, workday interruption, eldercare crisis, supervisor’s time.

Caregivers adjust their work schedules due to caregiving responsibilities by incorporating the following: making phone calls at work (84%), arriving late/leaving early (69%), taking time off during the day (67%), making up work on weekends/evenings (29%), using sick days (64%), decreased hours (33%), taking a leave of absence (22%).

In 2000, New York had 3.2 million people over the age of 60. By 2010, New York will have 5.5 million people over the age of 60. Also in need of caregiver assistance are families with a disabled child or an older person with disabilities under the age of 60.

The fastest growing segment of the aging population in New York are those 75+ and those 85+. These individuals will need more supportive services, including caregiver supports if they are to remain independent.

The average monthly out-of-pocket expense for a family caregiver is $171 (food, transportation and medication expenses account for top 3 expenses). Total un-reimbursed monthly expenses for family caregivers is $1.5 billion.

Most caregivers start out providing a small amount of care, gradually taking on more responsibility. Caregivers also underestimate the number of hours that would be required and the duration of caregiving responsibilities. The average length of care provided is about 8 years.

Caregiving responsibilities take a toll on the health of the caregivers, and on employee productivity due to increases in absenteeism, early retirement and turnover. Half of surveyed caregivers made additional visits to their health care practitioners. Half reported more than 8 additional visits per year.

Source: Caregiver Fact Sheet