New report identifies challenges for family caregivers; will your HME business be a part of the solution?

Posted on in Growth Strategies

CaregivingInTheUS By: Lalaina Rabary, People for Quality Care A new report, “Caregiving in the U.S. 2015,” provides the latest snapshot of unpaid family caregivers in the U.S. The collaboration between the National Alliance on Caregiving and AARP shows there are nearly 44 million adult caregivers in the U.S. “While the typical family caregiver is a 49-year-old-woman who takes care of a relative, caregivers on the whole are becoming as diverse as the American population,” AARP wrote in a June 4 press release. As the U.S. caregiver population diversifies, so do their needs and challenges. Here are three statistics from the report that illustrate a growing opportunity for home care providers to meet the needs of this demographic. Fact 1: Out of 1,248 respondents, the average duration of caregiving was four years; about one-third had been providing care for less than six months. Opportunity: Find caregivers early, provide quality service and create customers for life. Imagine if your business found caregivers early in their journey, they had great experiences and you continued to check up on them? You may just create lifelong customers. Becoming a caregiver is daunting and you have a unique opportunity connect with this group to help eliminate some of their early fears. Research places in your area where you can connect with new caregivers. Fact 2: All caregivers experience physical, emotional and financial stress. However, 46 percent of the typical higher-hour caregivers (who provide unpaid care for at least 21 hours a week) reported high stress from the demands of caregiving. Opportunity: HME providers can help alleviate physical, emotional AND financial stressors for caregivers. Does your business provide stress-relief products and services? How about education on how to decrease stress? Is your business connected to community resources that provide affordable caregiving services (delivered meals, transportation, in-home health services)? If you answered no to any of these questions, you may want to consider making some changes or additions to your inventory. Inexpensive stress-relief products or referrals to affordable community resources couple nicely for caregivers who are coordinating HME through your business. Fact 3: Thirty-four percent of family caregivers have a full-time job, while 25 percent work part time. Opportunity: Accommodating working caregivers builds better business. Full-time caregivers are required to juggle multiple tasks while working 40-plus hours a week. When this is your reality, every accommodation matters. What can your business do to accommodate the schedule of fully employed caregivers? Could you implement extended hours? How about tweaking your delivery services? Calculated accommodations could lead to big impacts for working caregivers and your business. The climate is ripe for new ideas that help meet the needs of caregivers. As the challenges for caregivers increase, will your business be a part of the solution? Get the report Visit the National Alliance for Caregivers or AARP to download the full report and related materials. Join the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP for a webinar on the new Caregiving in the U.S. 2015 report on Wednesday, July 15 at 2:00 p.m. ET. For more information and to register, go to