Covid-19 Caregiver Survey
The Covid-19 pandemic has affected individuals, families, and communities in countless ways. Caregivers and their loved ones are among those who have been hardest hit by the pandemic’s impact. However, when trying to understand the unique challenges that families are now facing, we noticed a lack of timely and up-to-date information. Thus, to really understand how our partners and the families they serve have been affected, we fielded our own survey this past July and talked to 40+ organizations across 14 states that support over 17,000 family caregivers. At the time this survey was fielded, states were at different points in their outbreak and response protocols, which consequently provided us with rich, nuanced, and more generalizable findings.
In this article, we summarize our findings from states across the country who are grappling with the changes that this pandemic has brought. While some of these findings are not surprising, this type of quantitative data is invaluable for organizations looking to get internal support for tech-enabled caregiver programs and overcome any skepticism around caregivers’ use of technology and the impact that this can have.
Stressed caregivers are reaching out to community-based organizations and using more technology
Almost all (95%) of organizations agree that they have seen caregiver stress increase during the pandemic. As a result, more than half of organizations (67%) reported that the number of calls they have received from caregivers has increased during this time. During these calls, caregivers have communicated their struggle to find outside support. In searching for alternative solutions to respite, adult-day programs, and personal care, an estimated 88% of caregivers reached by these organizations have increased their use of technology during the pandemic. Specifically, caregivers have increased their use of videoconferencing programs (e.g. Zoom), texting/emailing instead of phone calls, and online grocery shopping.
Technology is required to meet caregivers’ changing needs
As so many families have increased their usage of technology, an overwhelming majority of these organizations (95%) indicate that they are now much more likely to include tech-enabled solutions in their caregiver support offerings in the next twelve months.
Organizations are particularly interested in using technology to address what they have found to be the most important caregiving issues during the pandemic. This includes reducing social isolation, promoting effective caregiver self-care, assisting with personal care, and locating respite.
Reduced home health and delayed transitions have made caregivers more important than ever
Before Covid-19, caregivers already provided a staggering amount of care. The current circumstances have only exacerbated this and thus highlight the need for focused caregiver wellness supports. For example:
- Organizations estimate that at least 60% of caregivers increased the amount of care they were providing during the pandemic. This may be partly due to the reduction in home health visits that has been experienced by approximately 50% of caregivers and their loved ones.
- According to 90% of organizations we spoke to, some portion of the families that they support are considering delaying the transition to long-term care due to the pandemic.
These changes in the senior care landscape have considerable consequences. It is no secret that unpaid caregivers were already carrying a heavy burden, which has now been amplified by the pandemic. However, this data can help organizations build the business case required to support caregivers with technology during this tough period of isolation.
If you’d like to learn more about our insights into home-based caregiver support during Covid-19, please contact Amber at firstname.lastname@example.org or 917-975-9769.