The Heartbreaking Stories of Some of America’s 43.5 Million Unpaid Adult Caregivers
Moneyish, a digital story-telling project who views the world through cash colored lenses, shines a light on the 43.5 million Americans managing a full-time job and also taking care of a loved one. They are right on the money when pointing out caregiver difficulties and how it truly hurts businesses’ bottom lines.
Sixty-nine percent of working caregivers — who are mostly women — must rework their schedules, cut their hours or take unpaid leave. These are their stories. Caregivers are taking care of their parents, their jobs and their kids. But who is taking care of them?
Ashley Smith, 35, has been caring for her mother, who suffers from dementia, with her 29-year-old sister ever since their father dropped off their mother and left two years ago. The Irving, Texas sisters were working 60- to 70-hour weeks in real estate and coding; now they’re down to 40 as they pause their careers to take care of their mom, who’s just 61. They don’t date. They don’t see friends. “I don’t have the emotional capacity to sustain a relationship,” Smith told Moneyish. “I’m always apologizing: ‘I’m sorry I’m such a crappy friend.’”
She’s one of more than 43.5 million Americans who provide regular care for an older adult (usually a relative, spouse or partner) as an unpaid, informal caregiver, according to the National Alliance for Caregiving and the AARP. And 10 million (about one in four) are millennials 18 to 34.
To do so, 69% of them must rearrange their work schedules, cut their hours or take unpaid leave, according to a recent “Taking Care of Caregivers” report from Facebook and caregiver support program Cariloop. The average working caregiver spends 20-plus hours a week on caregiving responsibilities — essentially an unpaid side gig — and pays $6,954 a year out-of-pocket, almost 20% of her income, on caregiving costs.
About half (49%) of working caregivers also report coming to work late, leaving early or taking time off to care for their loved ones. Fifteen percent have had to take a leave of absence, and 14% took a demotion or cut hours to hang onto their jobs, while 5% have had to turn down a promotion, Cariloop reported. Four percent took early retirement, and 6% quit working entirely.
That hurts businesses’ bottom lines, too. Companies lose between $17.1 billion and $33.6 billion annually on lost productivity, depending on the level of caregiving involved, Cariloop noted, or $2,110 for every full-time worker who cares for an adult.
Click here to read the full article. Originally posted by Moneyish on July 20, 2018.
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