Do you ever sit and wonder, “How much am I really worth?” Or maybe you think to yourself, “I would be rich if I were paid for what I do.” Caregivers are overworked and underappreciated, and you can certainly relate if you are a caregiver taking care of your spouse, parent, grandparent or special needs relative. It’s not that these people intend to take advantage of you or even realize how much attention they need, but the hours and energy that go into caregiving are exhausting and can drain you of having a “normal” life.
AARP has done some interesting studies on the value of a caregiver in an effort to answer the long-asked questions of caregivers. How much is my time worth? How have the demands of caregiving affected other areas of my life? What are other caregivers like?
Let’s see what the AARP has found through their research and studies.
Caregivers Are Not Alone
There are approximately 65 million caregivers in the United States. They handle all types of caregiving tasks such as filling prescription medications, acting as chauffeurs, attending doctor’s appointments and providing nutritious meals. Caregivers agree that their role is a full-time job within the other responsibilities of having a career and raising a family.
The typical caregiver is a 49 year old woman that is caring for her mother. The mother is often widowed and around 69 years of age. The caregiver is typically employed and married. Sixty-six percent of family caregivers are women, and more than 37 percent have children or grandchildren under the age of 18 living with them.
Time is Valuable
When you’re running around town filing prescriptions, picking up groceries and calling for test results, you probably think to yourself, “How much is my time worth?” According to AARP, your average hourly rate if you were a paid caregiver would be $11.16 an hour. Let’s see how that calculates.
- If you’re a part-time caregiver at 20 hours per week, you would be making $10,713.60 a year.
- If you’re a full-time caregiver at 40 hours per week, you would be making $21,427.20 a year.
- If you’re an over-time caregiver at 90 hours per week, you would be making $48,211.20 a year.
Caregiving Impacts Your Personal and Professional Life
AARP has found that while caregiving is indispensable for families and the community at large, it can impact employment and quality of life.
- 33% of caregivers had decreased their work hours
- 29% passed up a promotion
- 22% took a leave of absence
- 20% switched from full-time to part-time
- 16% quit their jobs
- 13% retired early
Caregivers Need Support
While these numbers may be eye-opening to you, the purpose is not to shed negative light on caregiving. Caregiving is invaluable, and there are many benefits to being a caregiver such as strengthening family relationships and making a difference in someone’s life.
What you should take from these numbers is that caregiving is a real responsibility that requires support. Don’t think you need to take on that responsibility alone. Reach out to family, friends, neighbors, respite care services, and in-home care agencies to allow some relief for yourself and to build a supportive network.