For its first study published in 2021, BPCE L'Observatoire focused more particularly on the question of money in the caregiver/patient relationship. For this 2023 edition, the principal theme is work considering that 55% of caregivers also hold down a steady job.
In France, almost 9 million people suffer from a disability or diminished autonomy, a figure expected to rise as the population progressively grows more elderly. The first baby-boom generations have now reached the age of 75 and, by 2030, France will have an average of 240,000 additional people aged 75 or more every year. This is undoubtedly one of the principal challenges of the decade.
Caregivers consequently stand at the leading edge of the in-coming wave of demographic upheavals and face myriad difficulties: lack of time, cost of support, shortage of professional help, the sheer complexity of organizing assistance, etc.
Family caregivers: a huge contingent
BPCE L'Observatoire has calculated that there currently exist 15 million caregivers in France: people providing assistance to a loved one facing difficulties in their daily life owing to health issues, disability or old age. In 61% of all cases, the person being helped is an ascendant (parent, parent-in-law, grandparent). Non-family carers account for a smaller percentage that still represents a far from negligible minority (11%).
Nine out of ten caregivers consider that the help they provide to their loved one is important or very important, but the hourly workload is extremely unequal between caregivers who are mobilized almost continuously – frequently spouses or parents of a sick or disabled person, living in the same home – and those who provide help on a more occasional basis. 37% of caregivers feel that the person they help is very or extremely dependent on them.
The cost of help: a significant outlay
50% of caregivers included in the survey say they cover certain expenses or provide financial assistance, chiefly to pay for living expenses. For almost one third of these caregivers, the amount of assistance exceeds 250 euros per month, a sum that may represent a substantial financial burden.
The higher the caregiver's income, the financial support provided is given at more frequent intervals and the amount involved tends to be larger. This partly explains why 49% of caregivers consider financial assistance to be largely “bearable,” even if 58% say they have not been able to undertake projects or make purchases because of these costs. 12% feel that this cost is beyond their capacity (vs. 7% in 2020 – BPCE L'Observatoire).
An impact on caregivers' professional careers
According to BPCE L'Observatoire, around 55% of caregivers are employed or self-employed. These professionally active caregivers overwhelmingly want to continue working: employment is perceived as a source of income but it also provides access to a community, a status, a career... and it also provides a safety valve.