A Big Market and Growing: Adult Children Caregivers for Seniors

Liz bio photo
Liz Conlin
VP Client Service Director
May 2, 2017
May 2, 2017

My mother has a needlepoint pillow with the saying, “Live long enough to be a problem to your children.” This sums up the plight of adult children with senior parents. They are important decision-makers and make up a huge market that is getting bigger every day. To reach them effectively, it is important to understand their situation.

To begin, we have become a “caregiver” nation. Annually, some 32 million Americans provide care to an adult 50+. One-third receive some help from paid caregivers, but two out of three have no help, paid or unpaid.

The typical adult child caregiver is female and 49 years old. 49% are looking after a parent or in-law 75 years or older. 41% are caring for someone with Alzheimer’s. 42% report that they are providing care often medical in nature without any training whatsoever. The average length of time they look after a senior is four years, but nearly 25% have been at it for 5 years or more.

Caregiving be lonely for adult children, because proximity to their parents, not birth order has a big influence on who is the family caregiver. 43% report they receive no help from siblings with the care of parents.

And, if that weren’t enough, taking care of parents has a dramatic impact on their career, wallet, physical and mental health.
43% of sons and 42% of daughters report their careers have suffered as a result of caregiving. 25% of daughters have had to quit their jobs to care for a parent in need, compared to 17% of sons.

Adult children are often spending their own money to care for parents. 50% have had to dip into their personal savings or take on significant debt to care for their senior parent or family member.

And, the longer they have been caring for someone, the more likely to report fair or poor health. 22% say their health had declined since they began caring for their relative. Two in five report caregiving as emotionally stressful.

So, how do we appeal to and help this audience?

Empathize. Then, demonstrate how your product or service can provide value to them and/or their senior family member.
Acknowledge that they carry a lot of responsibility and offer opportunities to help them save time, money and protect their physical and emotional health. Adult children are often major decision-makers or influencers for their parents. In particular, they are often responsible for selection of hospitals, doctors, in-home or assisted living facilities, hospice and emergency alert systems. Include messaging that lets them know that you respect their role and are there to help them.

Adult children want to make the best/right decisions for their parents.
This is a guilt-ridden group of people who want to do their best for their parents. They need advice and information to feel confident about their decision-making. Storytelling from others who have been there can help them realize they are not alone and there are solutions available.

Educate them about products and services that will help them prepare for their own old age.
After their own experiences, adult caregivers do not want to be a burden to their own children. Retirement and financial planning services, senior living communities, in-home care, fitness, nutrition and health services can help them be in the best position to remain independent into their senior years.

For a look at how REGROUP approached this audience for our in-home care client, Right at Home.
Right at Home Office
Right at Home Restaurant

Sources: 2015 Caregiving in the U.S sponsored by AARP and Aging–The State of Caregiving: 2015 report