KEY TAKEAWAY: With an aging Baby Boomer population, the biggest threat to those that continue to try and build careers is being a caregiver. More than three quarters (78%) of caregivers are incurring out-of-pocket costs as a result of caregiving. AARP estimates that family caregivers, on average, are spending roughly $7,000 per year ($6,954) on out-of-pocket costs related to caregiving in 2016.
More than half of employed caregivers (56%) experience at least one work-related strain. This may take the form of working different hours, fewer/more hours, and taking time off (whether paid or unpaid).
Many family caregivers also need to cut back on other spending which can undermine the family caregiver’s future financial securit y. One in six have reduced contributions to their retirement savings (16%) and roughly half have cut back on leisure spending (e.g., 45% cut back on eating out or vacations as a result of caregiving expenses).
In other words, being thrust into being a caregiver can be a life-changing event. In addition, most employers have no policy for employees when it comes to taking care of a loved one after a sudden illness.
I experienced being a caregiver when I was under a lot of pressure to launch a website in support of a new high profile drug launch. My dad was in an assisted living facility, but would call me constantly at work to bring him meals since he didn’t like the food at the facility. I still remember bringing him a steak carry out from the Outback while getting a call about the website being down. As much as I loved my dad it took a toll on my well being via a lot of stress.
I was lucky enough to get my dad qualified for Medicaid, but his care still wiped out a substantial part of our savings. Now, with Medicaid harder to qualify for, a lot of people are going to find out that being a caregiver is no fun at a time when Republicans want to cut healthcare costs.
Pharma companies have not really addressed caregivers on websites. Sure, they provide medical information, but there is rarely any deep link information for emotional support that caregivers need. There is a substantial gap in caregivers needs that needs to be addressed and pharma can reach them beyond “trying to sell” this segment.