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What you need to know about caregiving – Orange County Registry

November is National Caregiving Month. Caregiving is an equal opportunity phenomenon. According to former first lady Rosalynn Carter, there are There are only four types of people in the world: those who have been caregivers, those who are currently caregivers, those who will be caregivers, and those who will need caregivers.

President Clinton signed the first National Caregiver Month proclamation recognizing and honoring caregivers each November. Subsequent presidents have done the same.

Take this short quiz that can improve your perspective on caregiving.

1. Formal and informal carers differ according to their remuneration.

True. A caregiver is an unpaid person, such as a spouse, partner, family member or friend. Professional caregivers are paid for their service, providing care at home or in a daycare or residential or long-term care facility.

2. Each year, more than 53 million informal family caregivers provide the majority of support enabling older people and people with disabilities to live in their communities.

True. One in five Americans provides family support which amounts to 53 million caregivers. Their support includes help with activities of daily living such as bathing, grooming and dressing. Add to that grocery shopping and meal prep, doctor’s appointments, house maintenance, and managing multiple medications.

3. In 2017, the annual contribution of unpaid care of the elderly by family members was estimated at $100 billion.

Fake. The real contribution of unpaid care is $470 billion. According to National caregiver support strategythe current American system of long-term services and supports could not function without the contribution of unpaid caregivers.

4. There is a gender divide between family carers with 50% male and 50% female.

Fake. Although there is a trend of more men becoming caregivers, 61% of family caregivers are women. Caregiving responsibilities often have a disparate impact on women’s financial security, including their retirement.

5. The average age of an employed family caregiver is 46 years old.

True. About 70% are women.

6. Of caregivers, 25% suffer from depression.

Fake. A November 2021 study from the Genworth insurance company found that 42% of caregivers suffered from depression, mood swings or resentment. In addition, 30% said they lacked sleep and 43% indicated their care responsibilities have a negative impact on relationships with their spouse or partner.

7. Families spend an average of $3,000 per year on out-of-pocket care.

Fake. Rather, it’s $7,000 that can have a long-term effect on the health, relationships, mental and emotional well-being, and finances of caregivers. It can even affect family members’ ability to care for themselves.

8. The United States is considered number 2 for providing the best senior care in the world.

Fake. The United States is number 6. Norway is the first to recognize its strong sense of community and its offer of 100% pension coverage and financial security for the elderly. Next comes Sweden, followed by Switzerland, Germany, Canada, the United States and Great Britain.

9. About half of caregivers work.

Fake. It’s closer to two-thirds. Among family caregivers, 61% are also work other jobs. More than 1 in 6 work full or part time in addition to helping care for an elderly or disabled family member, relative or friend. Those who work at least 15 hours per week indicate that their caregiving assistance has had a significant impact on their working life.

10. Caregivers provide care an average of about 25 hours per week.

True. Family caregivers spend an average of 24.4 hours per week providing care, with nearly one in four spending 41 hours per week. The majority (82%) are caring for an adult; 15% are caring for two adults and 3% are caring for three or more adults.

So what can we each do to help and show our gratitude to caregivers? Write a thoughtful card to say thank you. Prepare a meal and add fresh flowers. Consider periodic visits to allow time for the family caregiver.

To quote former President Barack Obama in his 2014 Presidential Proclamation, “…we salute those who fill difficult and exhausting roles, and…we recommit to uplifting these Americans as they care for their loved ones while protecting their lives.” dignity and individuality..”

Here are our unsung and unselfish caregiver heroines and heroes. Stay well everyone and know that kindness is everything.

Helen Dennis is a nationally recognized leader on aging and new retirement issues with academic, corporate, and nonprofit experience. Contact Helen with your questions and comments at Visit Helen at and follow her at

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