Genworth Financial’s Cost of Care Survey 2016 revealed fascinating and helpful information about the state of caregiving in the United States. With this most recent data, it is clear that care costs are rising, and that facility costs are rising most rapidly. It is also clear that costs vary wildly from state to state, with the cheapest care focused in rural and southern states. An interesting new finding is that caregivers themselves are changing, expanding what Genworth calls the Circle of Care which provides direct care and support to caregivers for seniors.
Research by Genworth Financial showed that, although figures had trended toward more women giving care to seniors in past years, now more men are participating in caregiving. The split is more even now, which is a great development for both women and seniors. Sharing the responsibilities of caregiving means less of a negative impact on caregivers and their families, and better results for seniors.
More men are participating in caregiving.
Millenials “are not strangers to long term care,” notes Genworth, and with 60% of caregivers between the ages of 25 and 54, that is becoming very clear. The average age for a caregiver is now 46, rather than 2010’s average age of 53. This means that caregivers are now younger, showing that millennials and members of Generation Y are frequently participating in caring for their parents and grandparents. This is especially true of these young cohorts as they reach an age when they are also getting married and having children. The blended nature of caregiving crosses generations and can yield great results—seniors who interact with young people have greater access to use technology and to feel young again.
Millennials and members of Generation Y are frequently participating in caring for their parents and grandparents.
Younger Care Receivers
Like their caregivers, seniors requiring some type of care are also getting younger. Some 60% of care recipients in 2015 are 65 or older, compared to 81% in 2010. This means that 40% of seniors receiving care are younger than 65, as opposed to 19% in 2010. Younger people receiving care may be a good sign or a bad sign, depending on the cause. It could be that more seniors have access to greater care, and they are receiving it now due to need when they would not have otherwise received it in the past; or it could be that there are more injuries and illnesses in a population that is younger. Regardless of the reasons, the residents of facilities and the receivers of in-home care are more likely now to be under the age of 65 than five years ago, changing the look and feel of senior care.
40% of seniors receiving care are younger than 65, as opposed to 19% in 2010.
More Accidents, Less Sickness
The reasons for receiving care have also changed. In 2010, accidents accounted for only 11% of reasons for seniors to seek out care; in 2015, that number rose to 19%. Illnesses account for fewer seniors seeking this care; in 2010, illness caused 44% to look for care, but now it is only 35%. The good thing about this is that accidents can often be prevented with some teamwork and planning by seniors and their loved ones, whereas illnesses often cannot be avoided. By preventing falls and ensuring good transportation, for example, caregivers can help keep seniors safe in their homes without the need for care. Working in cooperation with medical professionals such as nurses and doctors, seniors can also manage their nutrition and medications so as to avoid side effects and minimize the possibility of bad interactions between prescriptions. Getting regular checkups and tests can also make sure that bones, joints, muscles, and brains are all in good order, preventing undiagnosed illnesses from causing accidents.
Adult Children and Other Family Members
In 2015, more caregivers were the adult children of a care-receiving senior, as opposed to a spouse or other loved ones—52%, to be precise. Other family members are joining the team also—24% of caregivers were not spouses or children of the senior for whom they provided care, but another family member, such as a cousin or nephew. It is the more the merrier when it comes to seniors—as the Circle of Care expands, so does the community supporting and caring for seniors who need it.
Genworth Financial. Annual Median Costs for Care. Genworth Financial, 2016. Available at https://www.genworth.com/dam/Americas/US/PDFs/Consumer/corporate/cost-of-care/179703_CofC_Annual_060316.pdf. Retrieved July 11, 2016.
Genworth Financial. Beyond Dollars 2015. Genworth Financial, 2016. Available at https://pro.genworth.com/riiproweb/productinfo/pdf/157453C.pdf. Retrieved July 11, 2016.
Genworth Financial. Compare Long Term Care Costs Across the United States. Genworth Financial, 2016. Available at https://www.genworth.com/about-us/industry-expertise/cost-of-care.html. Retrieved July 11, 2016.
Genworth Financial. Summary of 2016 Survey Findings. Genworth Financial, 2016. Available at https://www.genworth.com/dam/Americas/US/PDFs/Consumer/corporate/131168_050516.pdf. Retrieved July 11, 2016.