Thought: In these scenarios of caregiving which are now quite real and last, perhaps, for years…where is the sacred? How can churches, synagogues, mosques, chaplaincy, religious institutions and communities provide a sense of support, caring, meaning? What do you think?
- More than 50 million people provide care for a chronically ill, disabled or aged family member or friend during any given year
- The typical caregiver is a woman, in her late 40’s, caring for her widowed mother who does not live with her. She is married and employed, About 60% of caregivers are women.
- 1.4 million children, ages 8-18, provide care for an adult relative. 72% are caring for a parent, grandparent. Most are not the sole caregiver
- 30% of family caregivers caring fro older adult are themselves aged 65 or over…another 15% are between the ages of 45 and 54..(longevity=growth in this field…thus the “club sandwich”)
- Potential “generational storm” as baby boomers (1st wave turns 62 NOW) start to qualify for their entitlements (SSI and Medicare) and decline in number of workers to fund these (7:1 post WW2…2:1 within next decade)
- 17% of family caregivers are providing 40 hours of care per week.
- The value of the services family caregivers provide for “free” is estimated to be $306 billion a year…about two times as much as is spent on homecare and nursing home services
- The need for family caregivers will increase in the coming years…people over 65 are expected to increase at a 2.3% rate, but the number of family members available to care for them will only increase at a less than 1% rate….in coming decades, reality that elder care issues will replace child care issues as a major family “crises”
- Women who are family caregivers are 2.5 times more likely than non-caregivers to live in poverty and 5 times more likely to receive Social Security income.
- Caregiving families (a family in which 1 person has a disability) have median incomes that are more than 15% lower than non caregiving families.
- Families with person with disabilities have higher poverty rate.
- Elderly spousal caregivers with a history of chronic illness themselves, and who are experiencing caregiving related stress have a 63% higher mortality rate than non caregiving peers.
- Stress of family caregiving for persons with dementia has shown to impact
- A person’s immune system for up to 3 years after caregiving ends, thus increasing their chances of developing a chronic illness
- Family caregivers, who provide care 36 or more hours a week are more likely than non caregivers to experience symptoms of depression or anxiety…spouse’s rate is 6 times higher..2 times for caring for a parent.
- Stresses and strains on caregiver can lead to increases in depression, risk of mortality, premature aging, chronic illness
- Family caregivers make up some 15% of workforce………(will grow)
- 59% of family caregivers who care for someone over the age of 18 either work or have worked providing cae..62% have had to make adjustments in their work life..10% have gone from full time to part time…need to change work schedules, come in late or leave early, alter work related travel…some estimates peg lost business to caregiving by workers at as much as $34 billion per year
- Over 90% of caregivers become more proactive about seeking resources and skills they need to assist their care recipient
- Becoming a caregiver led most (83%) to become more active, aware and an advocate…interaction with loved one and health care system raises this awareness…
Statistics compiled from a variety of sources by National Family Caregivers Association and work from Sacred Aging project of Union for Reform Judaism’s Department of Jewish Family Concerns.
Rabbi Richard F. Address, D.Min, is the Founder and Director of www.jewishsacredaging.com. Rabbi Address served for over three decades on staff of the Union for Reform Judaism; first as a Regional Director and then, beginning in 1997, as Founder and Director of the URJ’s Department of Jewish Family Concerns and served as a specialist and consultant for the North American Reform Movement in the areas of family related programming. Rabbi Address was ordained from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 1972 and began his rabbinic career in Los Angeles congregations. He also served as a part time rabbi for Beth Hillel in Carmel, NJ while regional director and, after his URJ tenure, served as senior rabbi of Congregation M’kor Shalom in Cherry Hill, NJ from 2011-2014.