MILWAUKEE, Nov. 13, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Caregiving is a growing reality for Americans – one that comes with a significant emotional toll, according to findings from Northwestern Mutual's 2018 C.A.R.E Study. The study finds that while nine in ten caregivers say they are providing emotional support for others, significantly fewer feel they get the support they need for themselves.
According to the data, nearly half of caregivers (44%) say they only get the emotional support they need "sometimes" and more than one in ten (15%) say they don't get adequate emotional support at all. For Gen X (age 35-50), one in four (25%) report that they don't get adequate emotional support.
When asked why they don't receive the level of support they need, more than half of caregivers (58%) said "they don't share their feelings because they don't want to burden others or be judged" while more than four in ten (42%) do not feel "people could relate."
"Caregivers need to prioritize some level of self-care and proactively ask for the help they need themselves," says Kamilah Williams-Kemp vice president of long-term care at Northwestern Mutual. "As a caregiver myself, I know that having options and resources available can be empowering and help alleviate some of the stress."
Gen X: Feeling Greatest Impact
Though the majority (80%) of caregivers feel "pride in doing the right thing," that sentiment is accompanied by a range of other complex emotions. Furthermore, the emotional toll appears to be particularly pronounced for Gen X:
Feeling 'often' or 'all the time'
Caregivers (Gen X)
The emotional experience of caregivers is happening in the context of the previously reported financial pressures and lifestyle impact caregivers face. Experienced caregivers report spending an average of 8.2 hours a day providing care. For Gen X, the perceived tradeoffs in their personal and professional lives are comparatively higher than for caregivers overall, which may contribute to the larger impact on their emotional and mental health.
How often have you had to choose between each of the following?
Caregivers (Gen X)
Spending money on yourself/family and care recipient (% choosing frequently/occasionally)
Spending time with a spouse/partner and providing care (% choosing frequently/ occasionally)
Spending time with children and providing care (% choosing frequently/occasionally)
% who changed schedule at work
% who reduced hours at work
"The sandwich generation is particularly sensitive to the emotional and financial implications of caregiving because they're juggling multiple roles and responsibilities," says Williams-Kemp.
Leveraging information as one antidote to anxiety
Despite citing financial support as the most difficult aspect of providing care, few caregivers appeared to have significant awareness of resources that could potentially offset some of the stress and pressure they face.
Gen X caregivers report having "basic, minimal, or no knowledge" of Medicare (76%), Social Security (81%), and long-term care insurance (82%).This is higher than the general population which itself is also low, with 74% reporting "basic, minimal, or no knowledge" of Medicare, 68% for Social Security, and 78% for long-term care insurance.
"Many caregivers are starting their role in completely unchartered territory, having no prior experience. That's why it's so important to have conversations with family and loved ones so you're not making crucial life decisions under pressure," says Williams-Kemp.
About The 2018 Northwestern Mutual C.A.R.E. Study
The 2018 Northwestern Mutual C.A.R.E. (Costs, Accountabilities, Realities, Expectations) Study explores the multiple facets of caregiving and longevity risk. This study was conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of Northwestern Mutual and included 1,004 American adults aged 18 or older from the general population and achieved an oversample of 233 American adults age 35-49 (for a total of 413) and an oversample of 709 experienced caregivers (for a total of 987) who participated in an online survey between November 29 to December 7, 2017. Results were weighted to Census targets for education, age/gender, race/ethnicity, region and household income. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents' propensity to be online. No estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated; a full methodology is available.
About Northwestern Mutual
Northwestern Mutual has been helping families and businesses achieve financial security for more than 160 years. Through a distinctive, whole-picture planning approach, we empower our clients to make the most of every single day and plan for important moments in their future. We combine the expertise of our financial professionals with a personalized digital experience to help our clients navigate their financial lives every day. With $265.0 billion in assets, $28.1 billion in revenues, and $1.8 trillion worth of life insurance protection in force, Northwestern Mutual delivers financial security to 4.5 million people who rely on us for life, disability income and long-term care insurance, annuities, brokerage and advisory services, trust services, and discretionary portfolio management solutions. The company manages more than $125 billion of client assets through its wealth management and investment services. Northwestern Mutual ranks 104 on the 2018 FORTUNE 500 and is recognized by FORTUNE® as one of the "World's Most Admired" life insurance companies in 2018.
Northwestern Mutual is the marketing name for The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company (NM), Milwaukee, WI (life and disability insurance, annuities, and life insurance with long-term care benefits) and its subsidiaries. Northwestern Mutual and its subsidiaries offer a comprehensive approach to financial security solutions including: life insurance, long-term care insurance, disability income insurance, annuities, life insurance with long-term care benefits, investment products, and advisory products and services. Subsidiaries include Northwestern Mutual Investment Services, LLC (NMIS) (securities), broker-dealer, registered investment adviser, member FINRA and SIPC; the Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Company® (NMWMC) (fiduciary and fee-based financial planning services), federal savings bank; and Northwestern Long Term Care Insurance Company (NLTC) (long-term care insurance).
SOURCE Northwestern Mutual