Cambia Health Solutions Releases "Wired for Care: The New Face of Caregiving in America" Study, Finding that Caregiving Responsibilities Include Serious Illness and Much More
At an average age of 42, today’s caregivers are relatively evenly split between men and women (47% men/53% women) who work the equivalent of a second, unpaid full-time job focused exclusively on managing caregiving responsibilities for families and loved ones. A new study released today by Cambia Health Solutions titled, “Wired for Care: The New Face of Caregiving in America,” redefines the modern caregiver by exploring how caregiving responsibilities co-exist with personal and professional duties and desires.
“For more than a decade, Cambia Health Solutions has been helping people living with serious illness and their family caregivers live well and feel heard through investments in palliative care and innovative partnerships. This new research shows that the impact of caregiving goes beyond caring for the seriously ill. From birth to completion of life, we have the privilege and opportunity to create a better health care experience for both caregiver and care recipient,” said Mark Ganz, CEO, Cambia Health Solutions. “Understanding what caregivers face as they juggle multiple responsibilities is essential to enabling them to live well and better serve those for whom they care. This research surfaces key insights on how we can better support caregivers on their journey.”
One partnership the company is especially proud of is its work with Archangels, an organization that has launched a national movement to recognize and honor caregivers using a combination of data and stories. Through this effort, Archangels, is building caregiving communities and connecting people to multiple resources to support them in their caregiving journey. In working with Archangels, Cambia has learned to recognize, that even if they don’t self-identify, caregivers are all around us. New research released by Cambia today reinforces this observation and reveals that caregiving responsibilities are expanding beyond serious illness, to care driven by short-term conditions, behavioral health and generational demands, among others.
Key findings on today’s caregivers and care recipients:
- Nearly a quarter (24%) of caregivers provide care for both a child (under the age of 18) and an adult (over the age of 18), and nearly one-in-five (19%) have both child and adult care recipients living in their homes
- 51% of care recipients are under 18, while only 16% are over the age of 65
- 14% are between the ages of 18 and 34 and 19% are between the ages of 35 and 64
- Half (53%) of care recipients need care due to health conditions, specifically:
- 21% due to an ongoing chronic or long-term medical condition
- 21% due to an emotional, behavioral or mental health condition
- 11% due to a short-term illness or medical condition
- 47% of caregivers who spend 41-80 hours on caregiving responsibilities a week stated they would be interested in using digital health tools to help manage their stress and emotional challenges
The “Care-Life Balance”
When it comes to the “Care-Life Balance,” 76% of caregivers state that no one taught, prepared or trained them to perform these tasks. Additionally, close to half (46%) of caregivers are managing their responsibilities without any paid or unpaid help.
Forty-three percent (43%) of caregivers agree this responsibility is hard work, but they do it out of love. And, while it’s hard work, caregivers are more likely to report their responsibilities increase joy (35% of caregivers) rather than stress (24% of caregivers).
Hitting Pause on Life Events and Activities
With caregiving responsibilities taking up so much time during the week, caregivers are making sacrifices elsewhere, with 76% stating they have had to give up or put an important life event on hold because of caregiving:
- 44% have sacrificed hobbies/personal time
- 37% have sacrificed saving money
- 36% have sacrificed vacation/trips
- 28% have sacrificed exercising/fitness
- 23% have sacrificed getting a job/advancing their career
The “Workplace Care-nundrum”
The study also revealed what Cambia is referring to as “The Workplace Care-nundrum,” defining the balancing act caregivers must make to perform at work, while not jeopardizing the care provided to a loved one. There is a difference in perspective when it comes to this juggling act:
- While 94% of employers stated their caregiving employees have taken at least one productivity reducing activity at work due to their responsibility as a caregiver (i.e., gone in late, reduced work hours, etc.), only 75% of employed caregivers reported having done so
- Caregiving responsibilities have a direct impact on the workplace with employed caregivers reporting:
- Going in late, leaving early or taking time off (41%)
- Requesting flexible hours or workplace (31%)
- Reducing work hours or taking a less demanding job (24%)
- Receiving a warning about attendance (14%)
- Turning down a promotion (14%)
- Receiving a warning about performance (12%)
Making Caregivers Truly Wired for Care
However, with three in four employer respondents (75%) also stating they are caregivers, 71% agreed with the statement, “Caring for those we love can be another full-time job that comes with less training and equal stress.” Employers are open to finding ways to better support their employees. Among employers surveyed, 61% agree that a digital tool allowing employees to manage their own and their care recipients’ health would increase workplace satisfaction. This included activities like tracking health history and connecting remotely to a health professional. Employers have the opportunity to support their employees while making a positive impact on their business by evaluating tools and services that deliver cutting edge technology and personalized support. One interesting finding about employers is that if they are also a caregiver, they are aware and empathetic toward the employees who also play that role at home.
According to the survey, employers who are also caregivers are more likely to be interested in offering a digital health tool (65% of caregiver employer vs. 49% non-caregiver employer). Employer caregivers are also more likely to agree that such a tool would increase workplace satisfaction (66% caregiver employer vs. 45% non-caregiver employer).
For more information and to review the full report, “Wired for Care: The New Face of Caregiving in America,” visit https://www.cambiahealth.com/newsroom/resources/wired-care-new-face-caregiving-america-0.
On behalf of Cambia, Ketchum Analytics ran “Wired for Care: The New Face of Caregiving in America Study” to better understand perceptions of caregivers and their employers as it relates to caregiving responsibilities and the effects on wellbeing and the workplace. This study consisted of two U.S. surveys - the caregiver survey and the employer survey. These surveys were fielded online by IPSOS with a 95% confidence level and a margin of error of +/-2.5%. The caregiver survey was conducted among 1,506 adults who provide care for someone else and was fielded from Sept. 17-25, 2019. Within this survey, caregivers were also asked to provide information about their recipients of care, up to four care recipients per caregiver; the total care recipient base size is 2,810. Additionally, employed caregivers have a base size of 814. The employer survey was conducted among 503 company healthcare and benefit decision makers from Sept. 17-23, 2019. Additionally, employers who are also caregivers have a base size of 128.