Long-Term Caregivers under Enormous Stress

October 12, 2010 (PLANSPONSOR.com) – Nearly half of family members serving as primary caregivers to loved ones have either lost a job or missed career opportunities as a result of their care-giving responsibilities, according to a new Genworth Financial study.

A news release about the study, “Beyond Dollars: the True Impact of Long Term Caring,” said more than four in 10 primary caregivers experience an increase in stress with their spouse, and nearly three in 10 report stress with siblings.

The findings demonstrate that the emotional, personal, and professional sacrifices associated with a long-term-care event can greatly compound the already considerable and growing costs imposed on family caregivers, Genworth said.

For example, often the extended family of a care recipient must delay other important savings goals, such as contributing to a 401(k) plan or college fund, to help pay for the care of a loved one. Those indicating a reduction in their own savings also reported setbacks in terms of their ability to contribute to workplace retirement plans.

The results for Primary and Secondary Caregivers include:

  • Contributions to savings accounts were reduced by – 73%, 40%
  • 401(k) contributions were reduced by – 65%, 22%
  • Retirement contributions were reduced by – 80%, 55%


Career Harm  

The study's findings revealed that the impact of a long-term-care event can hurt the career trajectory of both Primary Caregivers and Secondary Caregivers, due to missed opportunities for advancement and fewer hours worked.

The results for Primary and Secondary Caregivers included:

  • Had to work fewer hours – 44%, 29%
  • Lost a job, changed shifts, and/or missed career opportunities – 48%, 42%
  • Incurred repeated absences from work – 38%, 33%

The study, conducted by Rockhopper Research during April 2010, included interviews with 818 U.S. consumers 25 years of age or older. Respondents either were recipients of long-term care or had a family member that was a recipient of care greater than 30 days during the previous 12-month period.

More information is here