You are the woman who has got it all together. Multiple plans and tasks to fit your chosen lifestyle. You conquered college, landed your dream job and married the perfect man. You are now ten years into your career and you know with a little hard work in another ten you will be occupying an office in the “C” suite. Or you may be that woman who doesn’t have to work. In ten years the kids will be heading for college and you and your husband will start looking forward to more travel and life in a warmer, sunnier place. You could be that woman who may be putting in 16-hour days building your own business, banking on the dream of an unbelievable return on your investment. No matter what your life trajectory chances are very good that at some point you will take on the role of caregiver. Do you have a plan for that?
Here are some statistics you need to know. 66% of caregivers in America are female. That number may be even higher as many men listed as primary caregivers are being assisted by their daughters or daughters-in-law. While men provide some assistance, it’s estimated that female caregivers spend as much as 50% more time providing care than male caregivers. What does the average female caregiver look like? She is about 49 years old, is married and gainfully employed and cares for a 60-something year old mother who does not live with her.
At 49, most women have been on the job for 20 years, they are either in a managerial/professional position or about to enter into that realm. Most are at the peak of their earning potential. Most are also at their economic edge, thanks to a lifetime of loans and now college costs for the children. Even woman who have no family ties and are the CEO or are in middle management will be affected by caregiving. After the family, the second person to find out about a terminal diagnoses is the boss. Here is an employee that you have invested in for years and now rely on, that has to step down or take substantial time off to be a caregiver.