The caregiving sector is set to increase dramatically in the coming years. Our population is aging and advances in medicine are allowing those with disabilities to live better for longer. As the average age of the population increases, the need for caregiving also grows. But that begs the question – will we have enough family caregivers to meet this increasing demand? Let’s take a look into the statistics: who are our family caregivers, how is their health, and how many people are prepared to take on the role of the family caregiver in the next decade or so?
Who Are Our Family Caregivers
Let’s take a look into the statistics and demographics of our existing family caregiver workforce.
In any given month, the CDC estimates that nearly one-quarter of all adults over the age of 45 in the United States (22.3%) will have given care or assistance to a loved one (friend or family member) in need of help.
Of the total number of caregivers, nearly a third (31.3%) of them spend 20 hours per week or more providing care. And roughly one in ten (10.4%) of all caregivers are caring for a loved one with a cognitive impairment (such as dementia).
Demographics of Caregiving
“23.1% of Whites are caregivers, compared to 24.3% of Blacks/African Americans, 17.9% of Hispanics, and 10.2% of Asians/Pacific Islanders” according to the CDC.
Other important statistics to consider:
- 32% of caregivers also have a child or grandchild who is also in their care.
- 50% of caregivers also work full-time while providing care.
- 67% of caregivers are female.
- People of color make up a larger proportion of the caregiving community.
- The average caregiver age is 50 years old.
How Healthy Are Our Family Caregivers?
Family caregivers experience elevated physical and mental health risks. As a group, our caregivers have their own health concerns that impact their lives and care:
Caregivers are less likely to care for themselves, which puts them at higher risk for new or worsening conditions. 40.7% of caregivers self-report dealing with two or more chronic diseases.
The average age for this statistic is skewed older: 34.8% of caregivers between the ages of 45 and 64 are impacted, while a majority of caregivers aged 65 and older (53.4%) are impacted – suffering from two or more chronic diseases.
One-third (33%) of family caregivers report having a disability. A disability is defined as a health condition that requires the person to use aid from special equipment (aid such as a cane, wheelchair, walker, special bed, etc.).
Caregivers are also at a higher-than-average risk for mental health problems.
Around 20% of caregivers have been clinically diagnosed with depression (which is double the rate of the general population). An estimated 60% of caregivers show clinically significant signs of depression.
The Future of Caregiving
As touched on earlier, the need for family caregivers is expected to increase dramatically as the Baby Boomer generation ages.
According to a study conducted by McKinsey, “by 2030, there will be at least 300 million more people aged 65 years and older than there were in 2014.” This will put a considerable amount of strain on the already delicate system of family caregiving, especially when paired with a decrease in the number of available caregivers.
AARP estimates that in 2010, the “caregiver support ratio was more than 7 potential caregivers for every person in the high-risk years of 80 plus.” But unfortunately, they expect this ratio to drop to 4 to 1 by 2030, and to fewer than 3 to 1 by 2050.
A reformation in both healthcare and family caregiving (including funding, programs, and support) will be needed to meet the changing demands of our elderly over time. Family caregivers are juggling a lot of responsibilities both in and out of care while often neglecting their own health (physical and mental) in return.
At CRC, we hope to be part of the solution. If you provide regular care to your loved one, we are here for you. As a caregiver, you’re faced with new challenges every day. The California Caregiver Resource Centers are a network of eleven independent 501(c)3 not-for-profit organizations across California. They were created with you both in mind and at heart to be a free resource as you navigate the challenging role you’re in. We would love to connect you with your local Center, where they can talk more about local programs for caregivers, answer your questions, and explain how they can best support you.Share this post: