Many caregivers in a semi-rural region in northeastern California have cut down on paid work because of their caregiving responsibilities, but they said they were more interested in getting information about handling stress than about financial issues.

Analysts working for the Agency on Aging for an area that includes five counties around Sonora, Calif., presented data on local caregivers’ needs in a newly released needs assessment survey analysis. The analysts conducted the survey in 2014. They based the numbers in the caregiver section on responses from 135 participants who were caring for adults ages 60 or older.

Forty-seven percent were caring for a spouse, and 25 percent were caring for parents or in-laws. Another 10 percent were caring for neighbors, friends or acquaintances.

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Thirty-seven percent said they were providing 20 or more hours of care per week. Nineteen percent said they were working fewer paid hours because of the need to provide care, and 10 percent said they had quit their jobs.

Many said they were helping the care recipients pay for services that could, in theory, be paid for by government programs. In spite of the popularity of the Medicare Part D prescription drug program, for example, 48 percent said they were helping the care recipients pay for prescription drugs. Twenty-seven percent said they were paying at least some of the recipients’ doctor bills.

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Although the caregivers were earning less because of caregiving, and using some of the cash they still had to pay loved ones’ bills, “financial issues” ranked just eighth on a list of topics the caregivers said they wanted more issues about.

Insurance agents and brokers who help consumers with long-term care (LTC) planning could see if they can get similar caregiver needs-assessment data for their markets and use that data to fine-tune their marketing strategies. LTC producers could also use homegrown surveys, or conversations with clients and prospects, to see how needs in their own area compare needs around Sonora, Calif.

In the Sonora area, planners might find that topics that seem like surefire conversation starters (caregiving technology) have little impact, while interest in what might seem like dry, wonky topics (legal issues) is high.

For data on what the caregivers in and around Sonora said they wanted to know more about, read on.

Caregiver

What caregivers in California’s Area 12 wanted to know more about

1. Caregiver stress: 33%

2. In-home services: 29%

3. Legal issues: 27%

4. Alzheimer’s/dementia: 27%

5. Medicare and Medicaid: 22%

6. Aging: Facts and Myths: 19%

7. Day care for adults: 18%

8. Financial issues: 16%

9. Family relationships: 14%

10. Technology to assist with caregiving: 13%

Source: 2014 Area 12 Agency on Aging Needs Assessment Survey Analysis

 

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