AARP Eye Center
A new survey by AARP in Arizona finds 54% of residents 45+ are currently, or have recently provided care to an older adult. The survey, released as part of November National Caregivers Month recognizes the important role that caregivers play in helping relatives or close friends with chronic, disabling, or serious health problems to remain living at home for as long as possible.
“The typical caregiver in Arizona is a 61 year old woman who is married, has a college degree, and has a household income of at least thirty-thousand dollars,” said Dana Marie Kennedy, AARP Arizona State Director. “In many instances, family caregivers are also taking care of younger family members or children under the age of 18 that are living with them.”
The survey found that at least eight in ten caregivers perform many daily activities for loved ones that include driving them to appointments, shopping for them, helping with chores and meals, overseeing medications and managing finances. “Caregiving duties run the full gambit,” adds Kennedy. “Sometimes it can simply mean providing companionship or social engagement to keep their family member or friend feeling engaged and connected to society.”
Of those surveyed, half say they are responsible for bathing and dressing while six in ten say they also perform medical and nursing tasks. About a third said they spend more than 30 hours a week providing care. “In Arizona, it’s estimated by AARP’s Public Policy Institute (PPI) that the economic value of caregiving in our state is valued at over $9.4 billion,” said Kennedy. PPI also estimates that caregivers in Arizona provided 818 million hours of care, valuing that care at about $11.50 per hour. Currently, there are over 804,000 family caregivers in Arizona helping an older loved one carry out daily activities.
“It’s easy to add up the numbers but it’s harder to see the emotional effect that caregiving has on caregivers,” said Kennedy. “Nearly two in three admit to feeling stressed due to their caregiving responsibilities and over half find it hard to get enough rest, or they have challenges balancing work and family.”
AARP Arizona is helping to get the word out about helpful resources and information available for caregivers through its I-Heart Caregiver website at www.iheartcaregivers.com.
In addition, AARP will be working to build support for the Caregiver Advise, Record, Enable (CARE) Act during the 2016 Arizona legislative session that would help family caregivers when their loved ones are admitted to the hospital and as they transition home. The CARE Act recognizes the critical role family caregivers play in keeping their loved ones out of costly institutions.
For more information on the survey click here.