Amid the coronavirus pandemic, more are serving as caregivers while also juggling full-time work

MILWAUKEE -- Amid the coronavirus pandemic and a rise in the number of people serving as caregivers, some who are thrown into the role can face challenges -- but there are resources to help them.

Susan Reinhard

Whether there's concern over exposure to others or trying to keep them loved ones out of nursing homes, many people are finding themselves serving as caregivers for those in need.

"Providing ongoing support to somebody who has a disability, chronic condition," said Susan Reinhard, senior vice president of AARP. "Some need to have help with everyday activities and personal care."

Reinhard said the new role entails a lot.

"Could range from shopping, and cooking, and cleaning, and transportation to bathing, dressing, feeding, all the way to complex care, to giving medication, and wound care," said Reinhard.

Grace Whiting

Grace Whiting, president and CEO of the National Alliance for Caregiving said not only has the number of caregivers increased by 9.5 million in five years, but their health and personal finances are worse than they were before, and COVID-19 is exacerbating that.

"There is also more intensity around the caregiving journey," said Whiting.

Balancing it call can take a toll.

"Most caregivers, 60% are working," said Whiting. "They have been working already. On top of that, they are providing care to the tune of about 24 hours a week on average, and one in five, it's even more than that, 40 hours plus the equivalent of a full-time, unpaying job."

They're often juggling everything while trying to stay afloat.

"They might be dipping into their current personal savings," said Reinhard.

Though sometimes challenging, Reinhard said there are resources to help.

"There is an online community option for people who really do want to share what's going on in their lives, and get sort of that one-to-one peer support," said Reinhard.