Caregiver Series Part 1: Who is the American Caregiver?

More Americans are providing care for family members or find themselves in caregiving roles, especially as the baby boomer generation ages. These individuals are important decision makers when it comes to healthcare management and treatment. In this three-part blog series, we’ll explore different profiles of caregivers and share insights on how to best communicate with them.

According to Kantar Media’s 2016 MARS Consumer Health Study, more than 141 million U.S. adults have a family member that is experiencing a health or medical condition. Over 64.5 million adults (27% of the total U.S. population) are providing some kind of caregiver support for a family member with a health or medical condition.

When thinking about caregivers, we often picture middle-aged adults caring for elderly parents or a spouse with a chronic illness. In reality, this group is much more diverse.

Who are the caregivers?

  • A large portion are male - 44% of caregivers
  • Over 1 in 4 are younger adults between the ages of 18 to 34
  • Many have children or care for children - 35% of caregivers are parents
  • 1 in 3 indicate they are currently providing care for a child. 50% are providing care for an adult under the age of 50
  • They are part of the workforce - 60% hold full or part-time jobs
  • Nearly 1 in 4 are single or have never been married

Different needs and problems

Caregivers face different challenges in terms of their own health and healthcare needs.

Compared to total adults, caregivers are 28% more likely to rate their own health as fair or poor. 86% have been doctor-diagnosed with a health condition of their own and 16% have been doctor-diagnosed with depression (56% more likely than the average adult).

Older caregivers are less likely to report feeling stressed, while 3 in 4 younger caregivers (age 18-34) say they are somewhat or very stressed (that’s 23% more likely than all caregivers).

Different approaches to treatment

A caregiver’s approach to treatment can vary by their unique circumstances.

Caregivers of teens or children seem more open to explore various treatment options.

They are 17% more likely than total caregivers to research treatment options on their own before discussing them with a doctor. And, nearly 1 in 3 caregivers of teens or children indicate they prefer alternative or holistic approaches to standard medicine.

Caregivers age 50 or older appear more positive toward branded drug treatment than younger caregivers. They are 10% more likely than total caregivers to be willing to pay extra for prescription drugs not covered by their health insurance and nearly 10% more likely to agree that prescription drugs are more effective than non-prescription.

To find out more about the American caregiver, please stay tuned for our next post.

Kantar Media’s 2016 MARS Consumer Health Study is a trusted information source for reaching different patient groups and uncovering deep consumer insights. It provides stable and reliable media and healthcare data that is projectable to the U.S. population to better meet the needs of agencies, marketers, healthcare facilities, insurers and media companies. The study contains detailed information among U.S. adults including online and offline media usage for 100+ consumer magazines, newspapers and health-related publications as well as TV, radio, and internet usage

Click here to learn more.

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