The Unpaid Army: Family Caregivers Face Challenges About 1 in 4 U.S. workers age 25 and older provide unpaid care for a loved one who has health problems or is disabled.

Roughly one in four U.S. workers age 25 and older provide unpaid care for a loved one who has health problems or is disabled. In 2014, there were about 40 million family caregivers in the United States, 60% of whom had full- or part-time jobs.

Family caregivers spend an average of 18 hours per week helping others carry out activities of daily living such as bathing and dressing, cooking meals, paying bills, driving to doctor visits, and administering medications. Sadly, the results of a recent survey suggest that the workload and stress can take a toll on a caregiver’s own health, financial situation, and mental well-being.

55% of family caregivers say they are overwhelmed by the amount of care needed by a relative.

68% have used their own money to help provide care.

39% have felt financial strain as a result of providing care.

If you are a caregiver, it’s important to consider your own needs, too. Take regular breaks to rest or enjoy a favorite activity. Ask for help from other family members and friends. Consider support groups. Don’t be afraid to seek professional help for yourself.

Does your own financial plan take the potential need for long-term care into account? If not, it may be time to evaluate your options for covering the potential costs. It’s usually much easier emotionally for families to make these types of decisions long before the need for care arises.

Source: AARP, 2015

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