The Many Faces of Caregivers: A Close-Up Look at Caregiving and Its Impacts


The Many Faces of Caregivers: A Close-Up Look at Caregiving and Its Impacts
is Transamerica Institute's first-ever collaboration between its Center for Retirement Studies (TCRS) and Center for Health Studies (TCHS). Transamerica Institute’s survey of 3,000+ non-professional family caregivers nationwide provides a better understanding of caregivers’ duties and the impact caregiving has on their personal health and well-being, employment, finances and retirement preparations.

This caregiver research offers in-depth analysis and demographic portraits of caregivers by employment status, gender, generation, household income, ethnicity, whether they are the primary caregiver, and whether they volunteered or not to be a caregiver. The survey also offers essential detailed findings about care recipients, including their health status and financial situation.

Key Findings:
  • Daily Lives and Duties
    • 74 percent of caregivers have been providing care for one or more years and 36 percent of caregivers spend 100+ hours per month providing care.
    • Among caregivers who perform medical/nursing-related tasks, only about half (54 percent) say they learned these tasks from hospital or doctor’s office personnel.
  • Precarious Employment
    • Caregivers are juggling jobs and caregiving duties with more than half (52 percent) being either employed full-time (39 percent) or part-time (13 percent).
    • 28 percent of caregivers who are employed or have been employed during their time as a caregiver have experienced adverse actions taken by their employers as a result of their caregiving responsibilities.
  • Financial Implications
    • Caregivers spend $150 per month (median) out-of-pocket to cover expenses for their care recipient. Three-quarters (75 percent) do not receive any form of payment for their work.
    • While 56 percent of caregivers self-describe their financial well-being as excellent or good, caregivers have saved only $68,000 in total household retirement accounts (estimated median). Almost 18 percent say that they have taken a loan, hardship withdrawal and/or early withdrawal from their retirement accounts as a result of becoming a caregiver.
  • Health Implications
    • While 74 percent of caregivers say they are in excellent/good health, 17 percent indicate their general health has gotten worse/declined since becoming a caregiver.
    • 55 percent of caregivers say their caregiving duties leave them physically or emotionally exhausted.