Caregiving can be costly. As the United States population ages and lifespans extend, more aging adults require care. As of 2013, there were 66 million adult caregivers in the United States. However, many people do not identify as or do not realize they are caregivers. In such instances, people think they are simply being a good daughter, son, neighbor, friend, or family member. They may be taking care of mom, but they do not call themselves a caregiver.
Caring for a senior is prevalent at the local level. Approximately 8,200 (or nine percent) of those 60 or older in Washoe County serve as unpaid family caregivers to a senior by assisting with bathing, dressing, toileting, medication administration, and other personal needs.
Since 2016, the Community Foundation has led the Caregiver Support Initiative to address the needs of unpaid family caregivers to seniors. When the Caregiver Support Initiative started, local caregivers shared that finding resources and information was their most important need. One area of caregiving that is downplayed is the impact of caregiving in the workforce. One local caregiver’s vision was to have a “flexible and supportive workplace” to balance their caregiving responsibilities.
When we look carefully at working caregivers, their schedule does not fit neatly into clean blocks of time, working during the day, and taking care of mom at night. They are using their lunch breaks to check in at home, deliver prescriptions and meals, or research relaxing vacations, it is used for doctors’ visits. And what happens when an employee gets a call at work and learns their dad is in the emergency room? Often an employee becomes a caregiver suddenly, without warning or time to map out a plan with their employer.
Seventeen percent of the United States workforce provides care to older adults and that number is on the rise. The average length of time for caregiving responsibilities is 3.7 years. Sixty percent of caregivers work full-time. Locally, 71 percent of Washoe County employees who identified as caregivers stated their responsibilities. People frequently become caregivers during their prime income-earning years. Due to caregiving, employees often must work fewer hours, change jobs, or even retire. In fact, 19 percent of family caregivers in Washoe County have major debt due to caregiving.
Due to the financial strain that caregiving can bring, many family caregivers have called the Community Foundation asking how they can get paid as a caregiver. The Community Foundation’s Caregiver Support Initiative then worked together to create the Caregiver’s Compensation Guide. The Caregiver’s Compensation Guide shows how you can get paid while taking care of an aging family member in the state of Nevada.
Get a copy now by calling the Community Foundation at 775-333-5499. You can also download a copy on nevadacaregivers.org.