The Facts and Stats to Know About Family Caregivers

Northbridge associates, as part of their orientation, attend our Brass Ring Dementia training led by either our VP of Resident Engagement and Memory Care Services (who created the Brass Ring Dementia training) or one of our Certified Brass Ring Dementia Trainers. After completing the training, associates walk away with a deeper sense of empathy for those living with a form of dementia and new strategies and ideas for how to best care for someone with dementia. Since the program has made such an impact on our associates, and in turn the residents they care for, we thought it only fair that we share some of the learnings with you – the everyday caregiver.

Family caregivers have always been depended upon to deliver the majority of care needed by our older population. According to a 2023 AARP report, 38 million caregivers are providing an average of 18 hours of care per week in the U.S.

Although more men are involved with care now than in the past, most caregivers are women – historically and presently. However, one fundamental shift today is that over 60% of family caregivers also work full or part-time – and 30% live with a child or grandchild.

What is family caregiving?

Family caregiving involves a loved one who is elderly, ill or disabled. This care can range from basic assistance with daily living activities such as bathing, dressing and eating to more complex medical care requiring specific skills and knowledge.

Caregiving can be temporary, such as during recovery from surgery – or long-term, as in the case of chronic illnesses or age-related decline. There is a strong economic component as well, as it’s estimated that the 11.5% of the U.S. population providing family assistance are creating nearly 36 billion hours of care with a value of almost $600 billion.

The challenges for family caregivers

The role family caregivers play can have profound implications on various aspects of their lives. This can include navigating the stress and difficulty of adjusting work hours, taking unpaid leave or eventually quitting their jobs to accommodate their caregiving responsibilities. These actions can create long-term impacts if they lead to a pause in a career path, a significant reduction in income or slower retirement savings.

Financially, caregiving expenses can also mount. The cost of medical supplies, home modifications and potential lost income often creates financial strain. Studies have found that families often spend nearly 20% of their annual income on expenses to care for their loved ones.

The emotional and social effects on family caregivers

High levels of stress, anxiety and depression can result from the demands of caregiving. This constant stress can also lead to physical health problems, such as an increased risk for chronic diseases.

Relationships and social interactions of family caregivers can be significantly affected. It’s not uncommon for caregivers to delay their own personal attention because of the needs of their loved ones. However, the continued demands of time and energy often lead to isolation and loneliness – which can increase feelings of frustration or depression.

Download our complimentary Family Decision Toolkit.

The impact of family caregiving

Despite the challenges, many caregivers find fulfillment and meaning in their role. In fact, families often will say they feel grateful to have had the experience that provided such a positive effect. However, it’s crucial for caregivers to have support and respite for periodic relief from the demands of caregiving.

Joining support groups and utilizing community resources can make a big difference. Additionally, financial planning and professional advice might help create a workable plan or budget for caregiving.

As government agencies and healthcare providers acknowledge the importance of family caregivers, initiatives for training, financial assistance and mental health services will hopefully become more common.

While family caregiving can be incredibly rewarding, it also can affect a caregiver’s career, financial stability and emotional well-being. Support and resources can help ensure both the caregiver’s health and the well-being of those they care for. As the number of aging adults continues to grow, the role and importance of family caregivers will grow as well.

How an assisted living community can help family caregivers

Families often turn to senior living when providing care at home is no longer viable. This can also occur when the health of primary caregivers has deteriorated, and they may now need care themselves.

An assisted living community has many advantages, but the care provided is at the top of the list. Compassionate and well-trained staff provide a helping hand with the tasks of daily living, such as assistance with dressing, grooming or medication management.

The community’s transportation, healthy dining and activity programs also contribute to a loved one’s quality of life. But don’t overlook the benefits for the primary caregivers. They can now attend to themselves while knowing that their loved ones are safe and well cared for.

Getting a good night’s sleep, keeping medical appointments, socially interacting with family and friends, eating well and working toward fitness goals may have been relinquished to care for a loved one. Family caregivers can now return to the role of spouse, son or daughter and spend time once again enjoying each other.

Discover life at a Northbridge community

If you’re considering senior living for yourself or a family member, we hope you’ll visit one of our communities. You’ll find a maintenance-free, activity-filled and engaging lifestyle to help support your wellness goals.

You’ll also discover many benefits in a Northbridge Senior Living community, including our Signature Program S.T.A.R. Club (Sharp Thinking, Active Residents) – which offers our residents several activities to participate in with others, including:

  • Daily exercise group
  • Walking club
  • Tai Chi & yoga
  • Nutritional classes
  • Library and book club
  • Museum outings
  • Artists in residence program
  • Multi-generational music
  • Genealogy Generations

We’re here to answer any of your questions. Please contact us if we can provide further information or if you would like to schedule a personalized tour. Download our complimentary Family Decision Toolkit.

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