November is National Family Caregiving Awareness Month, and there is plenty to learn and celebrate. A family caregiver, sometimes called an informal caregiver, is an unpaid relative of a dependent person, such as a parent, adult child or spouse. They can also be friends, neighbors, and other compassionate care providers of dependent people, young and old. Their immense social contributions first sparked the month-long awareness campaign in 1994, and every U.S. president since has embraced them.
In honor of family caregivers around the country, let us share 10 facts you should know this November, and throughout the year.
- There were nearly 44 million Americans who provided unpaid care to a dependent loved one over the past 12 months.
- Family caregivers account for a critical social safety net for millions of vulnerable people worth an estimated $470 billion in economic value every year.
- Even with access to hospitals and social welfare programs, families typically bear the brunt of providing everyday care to those in need.
- About 75 percent of all family caregivers are female, and they spend as much as 50 percent more time providing care than male caregivers.
- The average age of a family caregiver is 49 years old.
- The average duration of a family caregiver’s role is about 4 years, although a quarter of all caregivers provide dependent care for more than 5 years.
- On average, family caregivers spend about 24 hours per week providing care, and nearly 1 in 4 caregivers spends at least 41 hours providing dependent care.
- Forty-six percent of family caregivers perform medical and nursing tasks.
- Ninety-six percent of caregivers help with daily living activities, such as personal hygiene, dressing and bathing, as well as so-called instrumental activities like administering medicines, grocery shopping and transportation.
Surveys show unpaid caregivers suffer, on average, a 26 percent reduction in positive activities in their daily lives as a result of their caregiving responsibilities, and the effect is three times greater in their personal lives than in their professional lives.
Caring for a dependent loved one is an act of sacrifice and compassion. There are resources and options available for caregivers who need support. Do not wait to attend a seminar to learn more information on how we can help you at this time.