By Twyla J. Hill (auth.)
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Extra resources for Family Caregiving in Aging Populations
Only 32% of primary caregivers for older people work (Wolff and Kasper 2006), suggesting either that people provide care because they are not in the labor force, or that they leave the labor force to provide care. Even though 85% of adult child caregivers are under 65 years old, only half work outside the home (Wolff and Kasper 2006). Also, half of employed caregivers say there are conflicts between working and caregiving (Wolff and Kasper 2006). Employers would agree; caregiving by employees is estimated to cost their employers at least $33 billion per year (Metlife Mature Market Institute 2006) through absenteeism, employee turnover, and lost productivity (Wagner 2006).
The better off will have larger social networks available because they will be more likely to have a spouse and children. They should also be in better health and have less need for care. Health does affect one’s ability to provide care. Most spousal caregivers (61%) say they are in good or excellent health compared to others (Wolff and Kasper 2006:350). Husband caregivers report they are in better health than wife caregivers, even though they tend to be older (Mui 1995b). Some people, however, provide care even if they are not in the best of health (Johnson and Wiener 2006).
These men experienced a great amount of caregiver stress and spoke of frustration with the situation rather than adjustment to it (Harris and Bichler 1997). Presumably, most men in this category will adapt over time, and will move into one of the other categories. The categories of team approach and men in transition are probably stages, rather than permanent situations. From their interviews with White wives providing care to husbands with dementia, Brown and Alligood (2004) identified three patterns of behavior.