Working Caregivers Facing Multiple Demands - Survey Says Many Would Change Jobs for One with a Caregiving Benefit

Many working-age adults are sandwiched between careers and caring for older parents and their children. Some employers are looking for ways to help in caregiving. Long-Term Care Insurance can benefit their families in the decades ahead.

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Working Caregivers Facing Multiple Demands - Survey Says Many Would Change Jobs for One with a Caregiving Benefit
4 Min Read November 21st, 2022

More and more working Americans must face juggling their career and family responsibilities and being a caregiver for an older parent. The problem of dementia is one of many reasons people need help with daily living activities or supervision due to memory loss. Research from Columbia University shows that nearly 10% of adults 65 and older have dementia and 22% have mild cognitive impairment. 

Most families are unaware that health insurance (including Medicare and supplements) pay little or nothing toward long-term health care. What they do pay for is definitely not long-term, as only 100 days of skilled services will be covered. No matter why someone needs long-term health care, a lack of advance planning often leads to a family member becoming a caregiver. 

According to "Homethrive's 2022 Employee Caregiving Survey," more than half of working caregivers would switch jobs if it meant having access to a family caregiving coordination benefit. The survey shows how difficult balancing caregiving with their job can be. 

Homethrive is an employee benefits platform that offers self-service digital caregiving and health support with expert human interaction. Members have 24/7 access to get help with Medicare, Alzheimer's, long-term health care, family care and dynamics, self-care, special needs support, and more. 

Few Have Help at Work

The survey showed that about two-thirds of workers don't have such a benefit, and 85% say they'd take advantage of it if their current employer offered such a benefit.

Each year, Homethrive performs an employee survey to gauge how caregivers are feeling and faring as they balance their lives.

2022's results are startling:

  • A 151% increase in the number of employees spending 9+ work hours per week on caregiving compared to 2021's survey

  • A 79% increase in the number of employees spending 5+ work hours per week on caregiving compared to last year

  • A 40% increase in the number of employees whose supervisors are aware of their caregiving responsibilities

Survey respondents are clearly stretched thin balancing careers and caregiving:

  • 56% of employees worry that caregiving will negatively impact their job performance

  • 38% of employees left work early due to their responsibilities

  • 37% of employees missed days of work

  • 35% of employees had to rearrange work schedules

Additionally, unpaid caregivers coordinate care for loved ones in a variety of ways:

  • 77% go grocery shopping

  • 75% drive to doctor's appointments or other services

  • 70% complete housekeeping tasks

  • 65% arrange or prepare meals

  • 61% assist with medications

The data reinforces that working caregivers are struggling. Another recent survey found nearly 70% of employees fear they'll have to quit their jobs without paid in-home care.

Many People Don't Have LTC Insurance

While some people have Long-Term Care Insurance, those who do not find themselves finding support from their adult children or through costly professional care. Even with professional care, a family member will still have to manage that care.

Many Long-Term Care Insurance policies have case management which helps the family; otherwise, families face a crisis. In addition to providing help with daily living activities or supervision due to memory loss, family caregivers face other responsibilities. 

Performing housekeeping chores, organizing or cooking meals, driving to doctor visits and other services, and helping with medication administration account for more than two-thirds of the caregiving time reported by survey participants. This is a lot of time and pressure that is placed on someone, usually a daughter or daughter-in-law.

Homethrive's Vice President of Marketing, Bonni Kaplan DeWoskin, says the aging population is making this a growing problem.

Unpaid family caregivers are unsung heroes. Our second annual 'Employee Caregiving Survey' reveals their workloads show no signs of letting up, and this underserved, yet growing population, is demanding help from their employers; they're willing to leave their jobs unless they get it.

Many Family Caregivers Work Full-Time

Most caregivers work a full-time job in addition to the hours of unpaid care they provide for others. Without formal training, friends and family frequently take on the caregiver job. They are expected to handle a variety of demanding care duties on their own.

Dr. Richard J. Hodes, director of NIH's National Institute on Aging, says that because of the stress and time demands placed on caregivers, they are less likely to find time to address their health problems.

There is a substantial cost to caregiving—financially, physically, and emotionally.

Caregivers are also at risk for depression or anxiety. And they're more likely to have problems with memory and paying attention, says NIH's Dr. Erin Kent.

Caregivers may even suffer from physical health problems related to caregiving tasks, such as back or muscle injuries from lifting patients.

As more people purchase Long-Term Care Insurance, families will have financial and organizational support in the decades ahead. Most people who purchase LTC Insurance are in their 50s but are becoming caregivers for elderly or disabled parents today. This care adversely impacts their career and family. 

Some Employers Have Assistance Available

Meanwhile, employers are looking for ways to help their employees deal with long-term care situations for older family members. Caryn S. Jung, program coordinator for Elder Care and Life Cycle Resources, Child Care and Family Resources, and Work-Life Support at the University of Arizona, says the university wants to offer their employees a broad array of work/life services and resources in response to evolving demographics.

By encouraging people to familiarize themselves with resources and services before a crisis occurs, we can help individuals plan ahead thoughtfully and appropriately. As with early childhood, aging is a normal process in the life cycle.

According to Jung, her office can help University of Arizona staff objectively assess their parents' functional and physical status. The office can provide recommendations and instructions on the proper levels of assistance, ranging from elder law to possibilities for respite care.

Huge Numbers of People Getting Older

Over the course of the 20th century, the number of Americans 65 and older has significantly increased, from 3.1 million in 1900 to 35 million in 2000. Stella Ogunwole, a demographic statistician with the U.S. Census Bureau, says the older population is becoming even more significant.

The Boomers, projected to number 73 million, are the second-largest generation group. 

As boomers age through their 60s, 70s, 80s and increasingly beyond, the 'big bulge' of the boomer generation will contribute to the overall aging of the U.S. population in coming decades.

Being prepared is vital for retirement planning. While Long-Term Care Insurance is essential for retirement planning and protecting 401(k) and other assets, these working adults are finding themselves sandwiched between caring for older parents and their own children.

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About the Author

Linda Kople is a freelance writer with a personal family history in long-term care. She specializes in aging-related topics such as caregiving, health, and retirement planning. Her experiences and interests drive her to explore and write about the various aspects of aging and health issues.

LTC News Contributor Linda Kople

Linda Kople

Contributor since October 31st, 2017

Editor's Note

Unfortunately, caregiving commitments can't wait until the workday is over. Even those who don't think of themselves as primary caregivers find themselves taking a lot of time helping older parents. How will your family deal with your future need for long-term health care?

The need for future care increases as you get older. You probably have already noticed changes in your body. Declining health and mobility problems will often lead to the need for long-term health care. As you age, the chance of dementia increases, requiring supervision and care.

Are you prepared for the consequences of long-term care? Waiting doesn't make sense as your reasonably good health allows you to plan. You have worked hard to save money, and you probably want to enjoy your retirement once you retire. You certainly don't want to burden your adult children.

The solution for many people is Long-Term Care Insurance. Your LTC policy gives you guarantees. You will have guaranteed tax-free resources to pay for your choice of quality care services, including in-home care. Your plan will allow your loved ones the time to be family and not have the full responsibility of being your caregiver.

Most people get their policy in place when they are in their 50s. Regardless of age, your health is the primary concern as Long-Term Care Insurance is medically underwritten - How Does Current Health Impact Your Ability to Obtain Long-Term Care Insurance?

Luckily underwriting criteria varies depending on the insurance company. Several top-rated companies offer these products. A variety of plans and benefits are available as well. Be sure to seek help from a qualified Long-Term Care Insurance specialist to assist you so you get accurate quotes and professional recommendations.

Tools and Resources Available on LTC NEWS

There are a variety of tools and resources that LTC NEWS offers that can help you in your research:

  • The Ultimate Long-Term Care Insurance Guide - If you like details, you will enjoy this comprehensive guide to LTC Insurance. 

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  • Cost of Care Calculator - Choose Your State - You can find the current and future cost of long-term health care services where you live.

  • Frequently Asked Questions - Get the answers to the most often asked questions about long-term health care planning and LTC Insurance.

  • Filing a Long-Term Care Insurance Claim - Does a loved one - like your Mom or Dad - have a Long-Term Care Insurance policy and need to file a claim to get benefits? LTC NEWS will help. If they don't have a policy, but you need help in getting a plan of care and finding caregivers, LTC NEWS can also assist.

  • Reverse Mortgages - Learn about reverse mortgages and ask questions about how they work and if you or a loved one would benefit from one.

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