A recent survey of caregivers who work outside the home found that the number of hours spent on caregiving each week has increased significantly since last year.
This was the second annual employee caregiving survey distributed by Homethrive, an organization that provides support to caregivers and their aging or disabled loved ones. The survey was conducted by a third-party vendor that surveyed 200 U.S. adults (60.5% female, 39.5% male) who work outside the home and also provide support for loved ones.
“We started the survey because we … not only want to provide support, but we also want to raise awareness for the needs of family caregivers and make it more acceptable for people to talk about the challenges of being family caregivers,” said Dave Jacobs, Homethrive co-founder.
The results showed that of those surveyed, 77% spend more than five hours a week on caregiving-related tasks, and 49% spend more than nine hours a week on caregiving. This was an increase of 79% and 151% respectively over last year’s survey results. Respondents listed grocery shopping, driving to doctor appointments and other services, performing housekeeping tasks, arranging or preparing meals, and assisting with medications as the caregiving responsibilities that take up much of their time.
Jacobs said the results weren’t surprising: The Baby Boomer generation is growing older, which means an increase in people potentially needing caregiving support. People are also growing less comfortable moving to senior living communities, which resulted in an increase in older adults being cared for at home.
Caregiving responsibilities are also affecting respondents’ work lives, although they are more likely to mention their caregiving responsibilities at work than people had been in the past. More than a third of the survey respondents said their work life has been affected by their caregiving, citing leaving work early, missing days of work and rearranging work schedules due to caregiving duties. And more than half worry about caregiving negatively affecting their job performance.
However, 81% of respondents said their immediate supervisor is aware of their caregiving responsibilities, a 65% increase over last year’s survey. The survey also said respondents reported that supervisors are more understanding of their caregiving responsibilities than they were last year, although improvements can still be made in this area.
More than half of respondents said they would change jobs for one that offered a caregiving benefit. Of those surveyed, 85% said they would take advantage of a caregiving benefit if offered, but only a third of respondents said their employer offers such a benefit.
“We just would strongly encourage employers to really consider programs to help support their employees,” Jacobs said. “We don’t think it has to be a choice between being there for your career and being there for your family. We think there’s a way to do both.”