Survey Reveals Struggles of In-Home Caregivers

Home is where the health care is — at least that’s what the latest data shows.

Roughly half of care recipients live in their own home, according to a survey of more than 1,200 Americans age 18 and older who provide care to an adult.

The “Caregiving in the U.S. 2015” study, conducted by the National Alliance for Caregiving (NAC) and the AARP Public Policy Institute, gives us a glimpse into the lives of some 39.8 million Americans who have provided unpaid care to an adult in the past 12 months.

In most cases, the care recipient lives in his or her home (48%), while another 35% live in the caregiver’s home. Six percent live in someone else’s home; 5% live in a nursing/long-term care facility; 3% live in an assisted living facility and 3% live in an independent living or retirement community.

However, a lack of support makes providing care a challenge, especially when that care occurs at home.

More than 8 out of 10 caregivers (84%) say they could use more information or help on caregiving topics. Caregivers most commonly want information about keeping their loved one safe at home (42%) and about managing their own stress (42%), the study shows.

Despite family caregivers’ need for support, only one out of three caregivers has made modifications to their loved one’s home (34%), and fewer have requested financial assistance (28%), used transportation (23%) or respite services (15%) for their loved one.

What’s more, 25% of caregivers say affordable services in their loved one’s community — such as in-home health services, delivered meals and transportation — are difficult to get.

But as the nation’s population ages, providing support to these caregivers and their loved ones will become increasingly important.

“Our population is rapidly aging, while the number of available family caregivers in younger generations is diminishing,” the study reports. “The nearly 40 million Americans who provide unpaid care to an adult are an extension of, and partner with, our formal health care and long-term services and supports systems. It is essential to support these caregivers.”

Access the survey findings here.

Written by Emily Study