1 in 5 Americans are long-term caregivers

1 in 5 americans

Approximately 20% of Americans are or have been long-term caregivers, according to the Northwestern Mutual Long-Term Caregiving Study. Nearly twice as many people are not sure how they would handle long-term care or are not planning to address their potential long-term care needs. 

When asked in which was, if any, they were planning to address their own potential long-term care needs, the 2,028 respondents said:

Saving for future needs

29%

Anticipating family or friends will take care

16%

Considering long-term care insurance

15%

Planning to live in a retirement community

13%

Owning long-term care insurance

11%

Not sure

28%

Not planning to address

13%

Other

2%

 

Perhaps this lack of planning is due to the fact that many Americans believe the will be covered by Medicaid, Medicare, health, and/or disability insurance, which is not necessarily the case.

I will be covered by insurance

43%

No one in my family has ever been in a nursing home or required long-term care, so I am not likely to need a nursing home or long - term care

14%

Long - term care is only something senior citizens need to think about

10%

Long - term care is only something senior citizens need to thou only need long - term care if you are planning to go to a nursing home

5%

 

The survey also assessed the impact and challenges that long-term care has on caregivers.

Impact of caregiving on lifestyle

Challenges of giving care

Enabled patient to stay in their own home

42%

Increased stress

59%

Less time with family/friends

34%

Physical demands

42%

Changes to daily budget

29%

 

Learning basic nursing skills

28%

 

Strain on marriage/relationship

20%

 

Decreased work hours

20%

 

 

The study found that caregivers pay for long-term care expenses with a little help from their friends.

Family/friends help with costs

19%

Income covers costs

15%

Use own retirement savings

11%

Paying with personal credit cards

9%

 

Among non-caregivers, one-third expects they would have to learn basic nursing skills, make budgetary changes, and offer the patient the possibility to stay in their home if they had to be a caregiver, among other changes as seen below.

Learn basic nursing skills

34%

Make budget changes

33%

Provide patient ability to stay in their home

31%

Spend less time with family/friends

25%

Have patient move into their home

24%

Strain on marriage/relationship

23%

Decrease work hours

16%

Disagreements on how care is paid for

15%

Disagreements on how care is provided

14%

Move to new location

9%

Make changes to retirement plan

7%

Negatively impact relationship

6%

Quit job

5%

Other

1%

None/unsure

33%

 

The aforementioned changes are more highly anticipated among the 18-34 age group, especially the need to make daily budget changes.
 

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