According to statistics provided by AAA, nearly 100 million Americans will take a summer vacation this year—that’s nearly four in every 10 adults in the United States. However, what this statistic doesn’t take into account is the number of adults whose vacation time is not one of fun and relaxation, but rather time spent fulfilling caregiving responsibilities for an elderly family member.
A recent Harvard Business Review study indicates that nearly three out of every four U.S. workers have some form of caregiving responsibility. Within this study, research also shows that 32 percent of workers left their employer (and income, benefits and retirement savings) to take care of an elder family member with daily living needs.
Council on Aging has been working to better understand how caregiving is impacting our local workforce. Of the over 800 responses we’ve received from Cincinnati-area employees through our caregiver survey, almost half (47 percent) have some form of elderly caregiving duties. Within these respondents, 53 percent have indicated they cut back or postponed personal things they enjoy so they can help care for a family member. Over 62 percent state they have taken time off work—not to enjoy the summer sunshine—but to specifically care for their older family member.
It’s not just summer vacation plans that are interrupted by caregiving responsibilities. The Harvard researchers found that 80 percent of workers with caregiving responsibilities say those duties affect their work performance.