Caregivers Report: Note Two – What did they find overall? Nonprofessional caregivers face unique situations, but commonalities abound as well for us!
In the report “The Journey of Caregiving: Honor, Responsibility, and Financial Complexity” (by Merrill Lynch and Age Wave) the authors summarize a few of their overall findings. I found this information enlightening mostly because it reinforces what so often we each experience and what we hear and look for here at Mayo Connect.
First: “Caregiving is a Complex and Challenging Life Stage”. They note it is ‘a major and transformative life stage, in which most of us will participate…’, and while ‘the duration and particulars vary, most instances of caregiving involve significant shifts in the roles, responsibilities, and relationship to a loved one.’ While this comes as no surprise to caregivers, it is a quality about caregiving, which I personally believe should be something medical professionals stress to incoming caregivers.
Second: “The Journey of Caregiving is Filled with Ups and Downs”. In this summary they identify six factors, which influence the journey:
1. the relationship between the caregiver and the recipient of care,
2. the presence (or absence) of others on a caregiving team,
3. the services and help needed,
4. the recipient’s health condition and prognosis,
5. the duration and intensity of care; and
6. the financial resources available, both of the caregiver and the care recipient, to cover the costs of care.
Third: “An Uncharted World of Financial Caregiving”. This section has some stark statistics such as 96% of Americans agree caregiving involves more than hands-on care, 92% of caregivers also hold responsibilities such as financial coordinators and/or financial contributors. This includes paying for cost of care and managing paying bills, investments, savings, insurance, taxes, and monitoring financial resources of the recipient.
Fourth: “Caregiving is a Burden and a Blessing”. While a vast majority of respondents (91%) say they feel grateful to have been able to provide care, they also acknowledged “caregiving is not without sacrifice. Many caregivers report significant costs in terms of their finances, their health, their time and leisure, their work, and their other relationships.”
Finally the authors also see a ‘coming caregiving crunch’ influenced by longevity, demography, sociology, and technology, which will converge ‘to dramatically transform the caregiving landscape.”
Interestingly to me their statements on this final issue seems to indicate they think there is no caregiving crunch already! If all of us involved in familial caregiving already are not in a crunch already, I dread to read what they think is on our horizon as a society and how it will impact families!
Strength, Courage, and Peace