Unpaid caregivers – family and friends – provide incredible value.
Have you ever wondered how many hours family and friends give as caregivers? It’s not trivial, nor is the monetary value.
It happens to all of us eventually. We’re either providing assistance and support to our loved ones as they advance in age and care needs, or we’re the ones aging and receiving the support.
Regardless, it all adds up. Usually, it is insidious; a few hours here and there to help with errands or appointments. Before long, it is taking up a larger and larger part of your day. But what does this unpaid caregiver hours and value look like?
I had the opportunity recently to talk with Jacquie Eales, Research Manager, Research on Aging, Policies & Practice at the University of Alberta. One of the areas they have researched and compiled data is that of unpaid caregiver hours. With Jacquie’s blessing, I will share some of that data with you in this post.
First of all, let’s take the birds’ eye overview of what that looks like across the provinces of Canada. This infographic shows the percentage of population per province engaged in caregiving, as well as the amount of time spent in millions of hours per year, and the economic value in billions per year, at $17 per hour.
Now, let’s break it out by category for a clearer visual representation:
As you can see in the above picture, one-quarter to one-third of our population is engaged in providing caregiving support.
This next image breaks out the amount of time friend and family caregivers are providing each year, in millions.
Calculated at $17 per hour, the economic value of these millions of hours of support represent significant value, as shown in the following image.
Attribution: Family-caregiving-worth-97-billion_2022-02-20 by Research on Aging, Policies and Practice, University of Alberta, https://rapp.ualberta.ca/snapshot-of-aging/
The amount of time provided to support our aging population clearly is far from trivial. Keep in mind that during the Covid-19 lockdowns, many family/friend caregivers could not access their loved ones, creating stress for the staff at the various facilities housing so many of our seniors, frustration for the friends and family members, and isolating a cohort that already suffers from loneliness and seclusion.
Societies have always depended on the support of friends and family members to assist with those who require support. This is something that the vast majority of us never would question and is a fundamental kindness. But options exist to provide balance and wellness for everyone concerned. A consultation with NEXsteps can show you how you can provide the love and support to your loved ones while striking a better balance with the other aspects of your life. Contact us to schedule your consultation, or learn more about our services.
You can also see our video on YouTube