Family Caregivers Need Necessities; Investors Fund the Luxuries
On Monday, The Washington Post posted the results of a report that share who is out of work:
Four times as many Americans are out of work taking care of adult family members than those who stopped working to care for children during the pandemic.
It’s an eye-opening stat but it shouldn’t shock us. During our personal caregiving experience, we struggle to find and receive help because of the direct care workforce shortage. We may worry so much about moving a caree into a facility that we continue to care at home even as care at home becomes more stressful and challenging.
We’ve moved past crisis and into a catastrophe for family caregivers. It’s urgent that we create better solutions for family caregivers. The current solutions do not keep working family caregivers employed.
Consider this stat from June 2021: In the last five calendar years, venture backers have invested more than $2.5 billion into eldercare and home health startups. (That figure is now higher because of recent investments, including $35 million to Wellthy in June, $70 million to Honor in October, $150 million to Papa in November and $12 million to ianacare in January.)
As you absorb that figure ($2.5 billion), consider:
The average pay individuals receive in their work as a family caregiver: Zero (on a good day).
The average pay of a home health aide: $27,000 per year or $13 per hour.
6.6 million people who weren’t working in early March said it was because they were caring for someone else.
With $2.5 billion into the caregiving space, why do family caregivers still struggle so much?
We create solutions that really are luxuries when family caregivers need necessities. They need help, in the home, that’s reliable, dependable and affordable. They need support to help them with decisions, strategies and plans so they can be responsive rather than reactive. We have yet to deliver the solutions to all who need them.
Going forward, let’s hold investors and the solutions they fund accountable. Let’s makes sure investors require that their funded solutions meet a metric that shows the solution improves the family caregiver’s experience. It’s not a metic about downloads or number of users. It’s proof that the solution is valuable, impactful. We need solutions that create value for the family caregiver so that the family caregiver can keep a life during a life of caregiving.
We need to hold investors, developers and creators (myself included) accountable for results. We need solutions which make a difference.
In February, we launched The Caregiving Department for all family caregivers because we know not all family caregivers have access to benefits in or through the workplace. Through The Caregiving Department, family caregivers and former family caregivers can connect to support through Certified Caregiving Consultants and enroll in free courses which offer comfort and healing.
Join our Virtual Caregiving Town Hall meetings to share what caregiving is like for you. Our national meeting will happen on April 19 at 8 p.m. ET.