Working Caregivers Reflect on Their Experiences

Brianna Maguire

Written by Brianna Maguire on Tue Sep 12 2023.

Woman handing drink to another woman.

Key Takeaways

  • Due to their caregiving duties, 53% of working caregivers made career sacrifices, and 42% delayed their retirement plans.

  • 40% of caregivers would take a pay cut to have more flexibility for caregiving.

  • 15% of working caregivers plan to quit their job in the next six months to focus on caregiving.

Balancing Act

Caregiving is incredibly rewarding, but it’s not without its challenges. It’s especially a balancing act for working caregivers, those with a primary occupation other than caregiving. 

What are the most common challenges working caregivers face today, and how does it impact their daily lives? We posed these questions and more to 1,000 caregivers in the U.S. to investigate the current reality of being a working caregiver—and find the tips that could help you.

Caregiving Realities

Let’s take a look at how working caregivers balance their responsibilities and check in with how they’re feeling.

Working caregivers juggling responsibilities at home and work see the impact of this stress on their careers and caregiving. Mental and physical fatigue are signs of caregiver burnout, which affects working caregivers’ relationships with their co-workers and loved ones, and even influences how they care for themselves. While 89% of survey participants reported feeling productive, 78% said they regularly feel stressed, and 47% said they experience burnout at least once a week.

Finding a healthy work-life balance is essential to reduce burnout, but it’s easier said than done. While the average caregiver works 35 hours weekly, 16% reported spending over 40 hours each week at work, and 58% had a side hustle in addition to their primary job. Working caregivers also spent an average of 21 hours per week caring for a loved one. Luckily, most working caregivers aren’t without a support system at work: 79% said they have a positive relationship with their co-workers and managers.

Caregivers’ Problems

Sometimes, finding the balance between work and caregiving causes conflict. What are caregivers’ most common struggles, and how has caregiving impacted their careers?

As if the stress of balancing work and caregiving wasn’t enough, 41% of survey participants also reported dealing with financial strain due to medical expenses or reduced work hours. The reality is that sometimes the needs of the present outweigh those of the future: 53% of working caregivers have made career sacrifices due to their caregiving duties, and 42% had to delay their retirement plans. While it’s never too late to invest in your future, some caregivers are choosing to invest more time into their caregiving over their careers.

Many working caregivers find that flexible work helps balance their conflicting responsibilities. Having part-time or remote work hours allows caregivers to better care for their loved ones and themselves. Self-care is especially important as exhaustion is a leading factor in caregivers’ performance. Exhaustion has resulted in 34% of working caregivers making mistakes during work and caregiving. When working caregivers can structure their time better, their careers and loved ones benefit from their healthier state of being.

Making It Work

Some caretakers are looking for better accommodations within the workplace, and some are planning to leave it.

Caregiving will become the sole job for the 15% of working caregivers who said they plan to quit their job in the next six months to focus on caregiving. This exit could be due to the fact that while 63% of working caregivers thought their workload was manageable with their caregiving responsibilities, 15% thought it was unmanageable. Beyond the workload, caregivers also sometimes struggle to balance their budgets.

The cost of living is only getting higher, as is the price tag of caring. Caregivers have good reason to be frustrated with their income, as 57% of working caregivers didn’t receive a promotion or raise in the past year, and 51% thought their job’s benefits were inadequate. However, 40% of caregivers would take a pay cut to have more flexibility for caregiving, which shows how important workplace benefits are for caregivers.

Caregivers also shared ideas for workplace improvements that would help ease their challenges. Almost 7 in 10 survey participants said a flexible work schedule was their most-desired job change. Other top workplace accommodation wishes included:

  • Increased access to affordable healthcare benefits

  • An office culture that promotes work-life balance

  • Additional paid time off for caregiving leave

Overall, working caregivers were seeking ways to support their situations so that they could show up as their best selves in the workplace and at home.

Transferable Skills

Caregiving is more than physical aid. It’s emotionally intelligent work that reaches far beyond the loved one receiving care.

Caregiving’s impact doesn’t end at home—71% of working caregivers believed the skills they developed through caregiving transferred to business leadership. The top abilities survey participants credited to their caretaking included empathy, time management, problem-solving, and adaptability. From finding the right adaptive apparel to keeping track of medication, caregivers are invaluable, resilient quick thinkers with a wealth of talent to share. 

But if working caregivers are to transfer these skills to the workplace, they need a support network. Support groups are one way that caregivers can connect with others to share encouragement and tips. If you’re not already a member of a support group, the caregivers we surveyed have some advice you may find helpful. Beyond advocating for communal support, survey participants offered the wisdom that caregivers should prioritize their self-care, give themselves grace, and not apologize for prioritizing their caregiving. 

The Growing Care for Caregivers

As the U.S. baby boomer population ages, the need for caregivers rises. In 2015, there were an estimated 43.5 million caregivers in the U.S. Within five years, that number rose to 53 million. With more people becoming caregivers for their loved ones, the support network for caregivers is growing. When working caregivers receive the encouragement and help they need, they’re able to share the joy and skills found in caring for others.


We surveyed 1,000 working caregivers about their experiences balancing their caregiving and work.

About Carewell

At Carewell, we understand what it’s like to balance caregiving with your career. Our caregiving specialists are available to help you find reliable products and resources to fit your unique caregiving situation.  Call us anytime, 24/7 at 800-696-CARE. We love to help!

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Brianna Maguire
Brianna Maguire

Brianna Maguire heads up Carewell’s Customer Care Team, and serves as a resource for caregivers that need support. Whether it’s helping customers decide which products are best for their needs, answering caregiver questions, or just providing a shoulder to lean on on a tough day, her job is to make caregivers’ lives easier.