Once again MassMutual and Easter Seals have collaborated on a study, this one focused on caregiving. The purpose of the Many Faces of Caregiving Study was to increase understanding of caregivers, become better aware of caregivers’ needs, and improve upon the ways MassMutual and Easter Seals serve caregivers and their families.
The study asked questions of 341 caregivers and 701 non-caregivers (a fairly equal balance of men and women between the ages of 25 and 49). Here are some major findings about caregivers. How do you relate to these facts?
– A mere 9% of caregivers provide only financial support. They are not otherwise involved in care.
– 91% of caregivers are unpaid, which includes 35% who provide both care and financial support.
– Many caregivers (59%) provide daily care. (Responses for other time segments were: several times per week, 26%; weekly, 11%; and less often, 4%.)
– 42% of caregivers have been providing care for less than two years. 17% have been doing it for more than five years.
• People receiving care
– 40% of caregivers said they care for a parent. (Responses for other relationships were: child, 22%; grandparent, 16%; spouse, 14%; friend, 14%; sibling, 9%; aunt/uncle, 6%; other, 4%.)1
– Regarding the reason for care, 42% of caregivers answered emotional or mental health condition, 35% chose memory problem/dementia, and 27% selected physical condition.1
• Effects of caregiving
– Many caregivers are very satisfied (47%) or somewhat satisfied (40%) with the care they provide.
– About two-thirds of caregivers say they have grown closer to the person they care for (see Graph 1).
– Almost half of caregivers wish they had more time for themselves (see Graph 2).
– Though most caregivers feel they have less time for themselves, 40% report making an effort to find the time. 43% care for themselves by talking with friends and family. Only 10% attend a support group (see Graph 3).
What, if any, activities are you doing to take care of yourself? (Choose all that apply.)
Base: Caregivers (310) who are unpaid or are unpaid and provide financial support.
This study revealed that 68% of current caregivers are concerned that a family member or friend may need care and/or support in the future. By comparison, nearly as many non-caregivers (62%) responded that they are not concerned their friends or family will need them to provide care.
Because of their experience, people who are caregivers may be inclined to pay more attention to the health or aging issues of those they love. They may be savvier about implications of medical diagnoses, or may be more aware of physical or behavioral signs that may indicate declining health. If they have become a caregiver without fully expecting they’d assume such a role, they may now understand the odds – the likelihood – that someone else in their lives might need help.
And what if those family members or friends do need care? 70% (347 participants) said they were very likely or somewhat likely to be the ones to provide that care. Yet only 51% felt very ready or somewhat ready to do so. Additionally, they said they had concerns about becoming a caregiver, with three issues topping the list: finances, time for self, and increased stress (see Graph 4).
Planning ahead for healthcare and financial issues
With financial impact topping the list of concerns, are caregivers proactively addressing this issue with advanced planning? Yes, to some degree.
The survey asked caregivers if they’ve talked to peers, siblings, or other family members about having healthcare or financial planning conversations with a parent or grandparent who may need future care. About half said yes. 58% said they’ve actually had healthcare conversations with their parent(s)/grandparent(s) (see Chart 1), and 53% have talked to them about finances (see Chart 2). Regarding their own healthcare and finances, again about half said they’ve done some planning (see Chart 3).
It’s a good start, but take another look at the graph that lists concerns. Consider how those concerns could be alleviated with conversations and advance planning. Fewer unexpected situations needing immediate resolution, less worry, improved sleeping patterns, less time missed from work. When steps are taken to reduce concerns, a caregiver may have more personal time and more quality time with family members, including those receiving care.
Have you talked with your parents or grandparents about their medical/healthcare plans as they age?
Base: 341 caregivers; 702 non-caregivers
What are your primary concerns? (Choose all that apply.)
Base: 347 participants who said yes when asked if they have concerns about taking on a caregiver role.
Have you talked with your parents or grandparents about their financial/retirement plans as they age?
Base: 341 caregivers; 702 noncaregivers
If you’re a current caregiver, or a non-caregiver who might assume a caregiving role, have you created a financial strategy? A Special Care Planner2 can help. They’re skilled financial professionals who have seen – and learned from – what other caregivers have endured and achieved; plus some have personal experience in caring for someone with special needs. Additionally, many are well connected to other professionals who serve the community of people with special needs. They’ll help you understand your options so you may ease the burdens of caregiving and enhance the joys.
Put this training and experience to work for you. A Special Care Planner can help you create a life care plan3 – a financial and legal strategy that benefits you and your family, incorporating ways to help you manage expense and legal aspects of the care you provide. Visit www.massmutual.com/connect-with-us/agencies, enter your zip code, then call an office and ask to speak with a special care planner.
Caregiving can be demanding, stressful, expensive, frustrating, time consuming,… . But it can also be comforting, enjoyable, and rewarding. Reach out to others – family members, friends, advocates, and professionals, such as Special Care Planners and representatives at organizations like Easter Seals. They’ll help you minimize the negatives and raise the positives.
Methodology – This survey was conducted online with a random sample of 1043 Millennials (men and women ages 25-49). The respondents are representative of American men and women 25-49. Research was conducted in January 2015. The overall sampling error rate for this survey is +/-3% at the 95% level of confidence. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error including, but not limited to, coverage error and measurement error.
1 The question asked participants to choose all that apply.
2 A Special Care Planner, a title used by MassMutual financial professionals, is someone who has received advanced training and information in estate and tax planning concepts, special needs trusts, government programs, and the emotional dynamics of working with people with disabilities and other special needs and their families. The certificate program was offered by The American College in Bryn Mawr, PA, exclusively for MassMutual financial professionals. Additionally, a designation of Chartered Special Needs Consultant (ChSNC), which evolved from the certificate program, is now offered through the American College for financial professionals. MassMutual financial professionals who have completed the certificate program, or received the ChSNC designation, can use the Special Care Planner title.
3 A Life Care Plan is a coordinated program of future care planning that includes financial and legal strategies for people with disabilities and their families. A Life Care Plan continually changes throughout an individual’s lifetime and is provided by a team that may include your legal and tax advisors as well as insurance and investment professionals.
* The Special Care Planner, a title used by MassMutual financial professionals, who have received advanced training and information in estate and tax planning concepts, special needs trusts, government programs, and the emotional dynamics of working with people with disabilities and other special needs and their families. The certificate program was offered by The American College in Bryn Mawr, PA, exclusively for MassMutual financial professionals. Additionally, a designation of Chartered Special Needs Consultant (ChSNC), which evolved from the certificate program, is now offered through the American College for financial professionals. MassMutual financial professionals who have completed the certificate program, or received the ChSNC designation can use the Special Care Planner title.
A Special Care Planner through MassMutual’s SpecialCareSM program can assist parents in drafting Letters of Intent and can help make a difference in the quality of life for an individual with special needs, their caregiver and other family members. Through SpecialCare you will learn valuable financial strategies, identify financial strategy solutions, access vital information, and meet certified specialists who will work with you and your professional advisors – your banker, accountant or financial planner, lawyer, social workers and health care providers – to review your financial picture and offer options to fit the needs of each situation. For more details, visit MassMutual’s website at http://www.MassMutual.com/specialcare, or call 1-(800)-272-2216.
Founded in 1851, MassMutual is a leading mutual “http://www.massmutual.com” life insurance company that is run for the benefit of its members and participating policyholders. The company has a long history of “http://www.massmutual.com/aboutmassmutual/financialinfo/strength” financial strength and strong performance, and although dividends are not guaranteed, MassMutual has paid dividends to eligible participating policyholders consistently since the 1860s. With “http://www.massmutual.com/productssolutions/individualsfamilies/producttype/lifeinsurance/wholelife” whole life insurance as its foundation, MassMutual provides products to help meet the financial needs of clients, such as “http://www.massmutual.com/productssolutions/individualsfamilies/producttype/lifeinsurance” life insurance, “http://www.massmutual.com/productssolutions/individualsfamilies/producttype/disabilityincome” disability income insurance, “http://www. massmutual.com/productssolutions/individualsfamilies/producttype/longtermcare” long term care insurance, “http://www.massmutual.com/retire/plansponsors” retirement/401(k) plan services, and “http://www.massmutual.com/productssolutions/individualsfamilies/producttype/annuities” annuities. In addition, the company’s strong and growing network of financial professionals helps clients make good financial decisions for the long-term. MassMutual Financial Group is a marketing name for Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual) and its affiliated companies and sales representatives. MassMutual is headquartered in Springfield, Massachusetts and its major affiliates include: Babson Capital Management LLC; Baring Asset Management Limited; Cornerstone Real Estate Advisers LLC; The First Mercantile Trust Company; MassMutual International LLC; MML Investors Services, LLC, Member “http://www.finra.org/” FINRA and “http://www.sipc.org/” SIPC; OppenheimerFunds, Inc.; and The MassMutual Trust Company, FSB.
The information provided is not written or intended as specific tax or legal advice. MassMutual, its employees and representatives are not authorized to give tax or legal advice. Individuals are encouraged to seek advice from their own tax or legal counsel. Individuals involved in the estate planning process should work with an estate planning team, including their own personal legal or tax counsel.