QUESTION: I am reading and hearing more and more about family caregivers and family caregiving. Do you have any facts or figures about this subject?
ANSWER: You are hearing more and more about family caregiving and family caregivers because the need for this type of care is growing every day.
During any given year one-third of the population of the United States provides care for chronically ill, disabled or aged family members or friends. Seventy eight percent of adults living out in the community and in need of long-term care depend on family and friends as their only source of help.
There are both men and women serving as caregivers. However, the typical caregiver is described as a 50 year old woman who is married with a family of her own and employed outside of the home. She is usually caring for a widowed mother. Sixty percent of the male caregivers also hold a full time job.
The impact of this growing need is far reaching. It is felt by not only the caregiver but also the caregiver’s family. American businesses also feel the impact through indirect costs.
One in five caregivers has had to either move in with the loved one or move the loved one in with their family in order to cut expenses. Forty-seven percent of working caregivers indicate an increase in caregiving expenses has caused them to deplete all or most of their savings.
The caregiver’s family also feels the impact as it disrupts the normal pattern of family behavior. It creates resentment and disappointment in that the caregiver is not always available in the home due to caregiving commitments.
Caregiving also affects the health of the caregiver. Stress of family caregiving for persons with dementia has been shown to impact a person’s immune system for up to three years after their caregiving ends. This increases the caregiver’s chances of developing a chronic illness themselves. Forty to seventy percent of family caregivers have clinically significant symptoms of depression.
American businesses feel the impact through absenteeism and scheduling disruptions and can lose as much as $34 billion each year due to employees’ needs for unplanned time off.
In answer to a question about caregivers, I believe it was First Lady Rosalynn Carter who said, there are only four kinds of people; those who have been caregivers, those who are caregivers, those who will be caregivers and those who need a caregiver.
If you are a caregiver or know someone who is a caregiver who has questions about services available or support groups for caregivers call Senior Concerns at (805) 497-0189.
Monday – November 25 – 9:00 am to 3:00 pm – ONE-STOP-SHOP = get your questions on Medicare Coverage 2020 answered – at Goebel Adult Community Center, 1385 E. Janss Road in Thousand Oaks – for more information or to make an appointment call (805) 477-7310
WEDNESDAY – November 27- Annual Thanksgiving Eve dinner for seniors at Simi Valley Senior Center – 3900 Avenida Simi in Simi Valley – traditional dinner with all the fixings – three sittings – 4:45, 6:00 and 7:15 –dinner is free but tickets are required – great company, great food – for more information call (805) 583-6363.
VOLUNTEERS NEEDED – Join the CSVP Tax Program – accounting experience not needed –but must be comfortable using computers – commit to one day per week from January to April. For more information call CSVP at (805) 381-2742. There will be an informational meeting in December.
Betty Berry is a senior advocate for Senior Concerns. The advocates are located at the Goebel Adult Community Center, 1385 E. Janss Road in Thousand Oaks or call (805) 495-6250 or e-mail (please include your telephone number). You are invited to submit questions on senior issues.

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