Do you identify yourself as a caregiver?
Who are caregivers? According to Merriam Webster, it is a person who gives help and protection to someone (such as a child, an old person, or someone who is sick). However many of us who are providing ‘help’ are reticent caregivers.
Many of us come from cultures that value intergenerational homes and norms making caregiving obligations a birth right. What the dictionary calls caregiving just means an expected contribution to the family.
Here is why identifying and owning the role of caregiver is important:
75% of caregivers are the sole providers for care recipients
Over 50% of all caregivers hold a full time paid employment along with caregiving
Female caregivers lose over $320,000.00 in wages, retirement and other benefits over the course of worklife
Male caregivers lose over $240,000.00 in wages, retirement and other benefits over the course of worklife
One in five caregivers who have provided care for at least a year feel financial strain
Single woman who leave paid employment to provide caregiving are more likely fall into poverty and never recover
30% of full time caregivers die before the person for which they care and 40% die if they are caring for a person with Alzheimer’s disease
Read more from the 2015 Report - Caregiving in the U.S.
Caregiving requires a multitude of physical, mental and emotional skills to complete nursing tasks, activities of daily living, medication management, financial/legal services and many other duties on a daily basis. Many are doing these tasks without hesitation to maximum the quality of life for the care recipients. Many of these unacknowledged caregivers today live just a hair from the breaking point, but remain silent.
It’s time we encourage all the overworked unidentified caregivers to come out of the shadows. All family and unpaid caregivers deserve our support and legal protections. Workplace protection for those who need flexible schedules, creative use of the family and medical leave act and other accommodations making caregiving a valued role.
Healthcare providers today need to collaborate for the sake of those getting care as well as caregiver. Our unpaid caregivers are our honored first responders to the crisis of our most vulnerable. Join us at REUNIONCare in changing the way we care for each other. We build Circles of Care around those we love. Stand up and be counted caregivers. We can’t live without you!