Snapshot of the Post-9/11 Caregiver

By ABC News

Mar 31, 2014 8:58pm
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The following numbers are drawn from the Rand Military Caregivers Study:

  • There are 1.1 million post-9/11 caregivers.
  • 59 percent are female.
  • 37 percent are under between 18-30.
  • 49 percent are between 31-55.
  • 57 percent are white. Twenty-one percent are Hispanic. Ten percent are African -American.
  • 33 percent are spouses of the person they’re caring for.
  • 25 percent are parents of the person they’re caring for.
  • 23 percent are friends or neighbors of the person they’re caring for.
  • In 15 years, experts see increased risk of people needing to find alternative care as parents age or pass away.
  • 32 percent of post-9/11 caregivers have a 70 percent-or-higher rating of how severely disabled their loved one is.
  • If you’re the spouse of a caregiver, you’re spending on average 14 hours a week more on caregiving than other caregivers.

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On the need to offset income loss: 

  • Rand has only identified three programs that offset income loss – one through the Veterans Administration, one through the Department of Defense, one from a non-profit organization.
  • Missed work for post-9/11 caregivers annually costs $5.9 billion.
  • 28 percent of post-9/11 caregivers quit their jobs altogether.
  • 16 percent of post-9/11 caregivers moved to a job that was better at accommodating for their schedule but paid less.
  • 39 percent cut back on hours.
  • 48 percent took unpaid time off from work.
  • On average, they’re missing 4 days a month.

 On the need to expand health coverage, including mental health coverage, for post-9/11 caregivers:

  • 28 percent of post-9/11 caregivers have no usual source of health care.
  • 31 percent of post-9/11 caregivers have received care from a mental health professional in the past year.
  • 84 percent found that counselling somewhat or very helpful.
  • Roughly two-thirds of caregivers with probable depression have not received care from a mental health professional in the past year.
  • 38 percent of post-9/11 caregivers met the criteria for a probable major depressive disorder.
  • Post-9/11 military caregivers had roughly five times the odds of meeting the criteria for probable depression and scored an average of 19 points higher on anxiety symptoms than non-caregivers.

On the need for expanded respite care for caregivers:

  • Rand identified only nine organizations that provide respite care, including public and private organizations.
  • The Lifespan Respite Care Act of 2006 authorizes Congress to spend approximately $288 million between fiscal years 2007 and 2011 to help family caregivers access affordable and high-quality respite care. Since 2009, only $2.5 million has been allocated annually to the program.
  • The number of hours people spend per week giving care correlates with increased risk of in depression.
  • 12 percent of post-9/11 caregivers spend 40 hours per week or more providing care.
  • 5 percent of post-9/11 caregivers spend 80 hours a week or more.
  • 20 percent of post-9/11 caregivers say they have used respite care.
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