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Caregiving Duties Take Toll on Workers

Tamara E. Holmes
Caregiving Duties Take Toll on Workers

While caregiving duties can have an impact on many areas of life, a new survey shows how detrimental they can be to a caregiver’s career.

Cambia Health Solutions, a health care solutions company, surveyed 1,506 adults who perform caregiving duties for someone else. Among those 1,506 caregivers, 814 were employed. Researchers conducted a second survey of 503 employers, polling health care and benefit decision-makers at those companies. Of those employers surveyed, 128 were also caregivers.

The findings paint a picture of a caregiver community that is relatively young — the average age of caregivers, according to the survey, is 42, with 36% aged 18 to 34 years old. Caregiving duties also fall relatively equal along gender lines, with 53% of caregivers being women and 47% being men.

The study found that caregiving duties aren’t just administered to the older population. Rather, workers are caring for loved ones of all ages:

  • 51% of care recipients are younger than 18
  • 19% are ages 35 to 64
  • 16% are older than 65
  • 14% are ages 18 to 34

Of those needing care, 53% do so because of health conditions:

  • 21% have an ongoing chronic or long-term medical condition
  • 21% experience an emotional, behavioral or mental health condition
  • 11% have a short-term illness or condition

Caregiving’s toll on the workplace

As a result of caretaking activities, 44% said they have sacrificed hobbies or personal time, while 37% said they have sacrificed saving money.

For those in the workforce, caregiving poses unique challenges, as 23% of caregivers said they have sacrificed taking jobs or career advancement because of their caregiving duties.

Caregiving has also impacted workers on a day-to-day basis, causing:

  • 41% to go to work late, leave early or take time off
  • 31% to ask for flexible hours or the ability to work remotely
  • 24% to cut their hours or switch to a less demanding job
  • 14% to be given a warning about attendance
  • 14% to turn down a promotion
  • 12% to get a warning about work performance

Recognizing the impact caregiving can play on the workforce, some employers were open to looking for ways to support their employees. For example, 61% of employers showed interest in providing a digital tool that could help employees manage their caregiving duties.

While caregiving can make work life more difficult, the welfare of loved ones is important. With remote working opportunities on the rise, your employer may be open to letting you work from home part of the time. That may make it easier to get your work done while handling your caregiving responsibilities. If your employer is unwilling to work with you, it may be time to look for another job or explore opportunities in the gig economy.