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  • Archive for the ‘National Family Caregivers Month’ Category

    National Family Caregivers Month: Caring for Younger Adults and Older Adults

    Friday, November 13th, 2015

    Blog Series #2: Caring for younger adults and older adults

    Caregiving_smileThis month we are focusing on caregivers. While caregivers share many similar experiences, there is great diversity among them as well. In conjunction with the “Caregiving in the U.S. 2015” report released by the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP, two companion reports about caring for different age groups have also been published.

    Caregivers of Younger Adults

    Caregivers of Younger Adults: A Focused Look at Those Caring for Someone Age 18 to 49” estimates that over 5 million adults in the U.S. provided unpaid care to family member or friend between the ages of 18 to 40 in the past year. The report explains that 61% of younger adult caregivers are female; they are on average 42.8 years old, and are taking care of someone 36.4 years old. The person they are carrying for is most likely their own adult child who is suffering from a short-term condition.

    Caregiving for younger adults can affect health and employment. More caregivers (17%) report their health as fair or poor compared to the general population. One in four caregivers feel their responsibilities have made their health worse. Caregivers of young adults are more likely to report financial strain than those of older adults. Most caregivers (65%) report working at some point while caregiving, with half working full-time.

    Caregivers of Older Adults

    Caregivers of Older Adults: A Focused Look at Those Caring for Someone Age 50+” estimates that 34.2 million American adults have provided unpaid care to someone age 50 or older. The average caregiver for this demographic is a 50.3 year-old female taking care of a relative. This relative is most often a parent or parent-in-law. The person they are caring for is most often suffering from a long-term physical condition or a memory problem. Half of these caregivers say they did not have a choice in taking on the caregiver role.

    Caregivers of older adults are more likely than caregivers of younger adults to report excellent or very good health, but the same number report fair or poor health. They are more likely than caregivers of younger adults to report high levels of emotional stress (38%). Approximately 60% of caregivers of older adults were employed in the past year.

    No matter the age of the caregiver or care recipient, it is important that caregivers know they are not alone and that there are resources available to help them. In our next blog, we’ll highlight some great tools, resources and supports that you can use and share with other caregivers in your community. Until then, check out the caregiving section of WISER’s website for more information.

    WISER’s November Caregiving Blog Series was written by Kassie Barroquillo.

    National Family Caregivers Month: A picture of today’s caregiver

    Friday, November 6th, 2015

    Blog Series #1: A picture of today’s caregiver

    Caregiving_smileNovember is National Family Caregivers Month. This is a great time to celebrate the caregivers in our lives and to learn more about the issues caregivers face every day.

    “Caregiving in the U.S. 2015,” a joint research study between the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP, was recently released and provides excellent data for understanding caregiving in America today. The report confirms some facts many people may already assume; most caregivers are women (60%), most caregivers are taking care of a relative (85%), and many caregivers are doing so without monetary compensation (34.2 million Americans in the past 12 months). But here are some fact that may surprise you: the average caregiver is 49 years old, nearly half of caregivers are providing care for a parent or parent-in-law; and the more hours a person spends caregiving, the more likely it is that she (or he) is caring for a spouse or partner.

    Caregivers spend an average of 25.5 hours a week caring for their loved ones. This number nearly doubles if the caregiver is taking care of a spouse (44.6 hours a week). The report explains that the more hours spent caregiving, the more likely the caregiver is to “experience emotional stress, physical and financial strain, and impacts on their health.”

    Half of caregivers (49%) reported they had no choice in taking on their caregiving responsibilities. Those caregivers are typically caring for a close relative with a long-term physical condition, memory problem, emotional/mental health problem, or behavioral issues. These are complex care situations that take a toll on the caregiver.

    Caregiving After 75

    This report specifically looked at caregivers who were over 75 years old and how they are different from younger caregivers. The report states that 7% of caregivers are 75 years of age or older. On average, this caregiver is a “79-year-old white unemployed female, currently providing care to 1 adult 34 hours a week without any unpaid help.” She has typically provided care for over five years to a “77-year-old male spouse who has Alzheimer’s, “old age” issues, or heart disease.”

    These caregivers don’t typically experience significantly more emotional, physical, or financial strain than younger caregivers, but they are far more likely to provide care without unpaid help. They are also tasked with managing finances, as they are often caring for their spouses. This is especially difficult because they are more likely to be living with a fixed income.

    Caregiving and Employment

    Many caregivers (six in 10) will be employed at some point while performing caregiving duties. Many have to make accommodations at their workplace like taking a leave of absence or cut back on hours because of their caregiving duties. The more intense the caregiving responsibilities, the more likely the caregivers’ employer is aware of their situation.

    The full report can be downloaded here, or by visiting the National Alliance for Caregiving website,

    Caregiving is challenging work, but the more we understand the caregiver experience, the more we can support the caregivers in our lives. In our caregiver blog series this month, we will provide more information about caregiving for different age group and support for caregivers. Stay tuned!


    WISER’s November Caregiving Blog Series was written by Kassie Barroquillo.

    Thank you, Mom! A Story of Caregiving

    Thursday, November 28th, 2013

    This Thanksgiving, WISERs wants to thank all of the wonderful caregivers in America. As our last post for National Caregivers Month, we will share one personal story of a WISER staff member that can really tie some of the various topics of the month together.


    My mother was the caregiver of two of my grandparents, her frail and ailing mother and her aging father-in-law whom she viewed as a second father. Both were diagnosed with lung cancer in the same year, and although their paths took very different turns, my mother devoted most of her time to caring for them both.

    My grandmother actually began needing help a few years before her cancer diagnosis. She lived alone, after her husband for whom she cared for 20 years passed away from Alzheimer’s. One day she fell, broke her hip, and began a very long journey. She became ill, needed oxygen, required a walker, was in and out of rehabilitation centers, and eventually had to be moved closer to our home, although she still lived a significant distance. By the time she learned of her cancer, my mother had already cared for my grandmother for years. 

    My grandfather seemed to be doing pretty well until his diagnosis. He liked my mother to come visit him, but could still drive himself and do many of his errands himself. By the end, he needed her assistance with almost everything.

    My mother retired early for a couple or reasons, but mostly to take care of her parents. For years she drove them to almost every doctor appointment, radiation treatment, and physical therapy session. She did their grocery shopping, helped them with their finances, and picked up their medicines. It costs her gas money, lunches and dinners as she ran her errands, time at home—all common challenges of caregivers everywhere. It certainly wasn’t easy. Both of my grandparents had strong wills and despised what the disease and their treatments were doing to them. She was, unfortunately, the brunt of some of their anger and depression, which is another common experience amongst caregivers.

    My grandparents passed away in 2012, and I know that they were both content in their final days because of the care my mother gave them. She became their caregiver, even to her own financial detriment and mental health. My mother’s experience was not unique. In fact the average caregiver is 49, a woman with a career and children taking care of her widowed 69 year-old mother.

     I am thankful for my mother, and all caregivers who sacrifice for others. I hope that the blogs this month have assisted caregivers in facing the difficult circumstance and decisions they have to make, and hopefully it has helped others understand the problems caregivers face. November may be the month to focus on caregivers, but they deserve our respect and support every other month too.


    It is important to remember that becoming a caregiver can happen at any time, but often it may happen as you are nearing retirement. Even older adults who feel financially prepared for their own retirement may suddenly find themselves unprepared to manage the costs of caregiving.

    But it is equally important to remember that you are not alone. 66 million people in the U.S. provide unpaid care to a relative or friend. There are many resources available to make your task easier. WISER’s booklet, Financial Steps for Caregivers: What You Need to Know About Protecting Your Money and Retirement is a great place to start. Read it yourself, and share it with other caregivers you know!


    About Us

    WISER is a nonprofit organization that works to help women, educators and policymakers understand the important issues surrounding women's retirement income. WISER creates a variety of consumer publications including fact sheets, booklets and a quarterly newsletter that explain in easy-to-understand language the complex issues surrounding Social Security, divorce, pay equity, pensions, savings and investments, banking, home-ownership, long-term care and disability insurance.

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