man wearing medical mask and looking out a window

Nearly seven out of 10 unpaid U.S. caregivers say that the pandemic has worsened their emotional health. Their 68% rate was more than a tenth higher than the 61% registered by these workers worldwide.

Those figures are according to the Carer Well-Being Index published by Embracing Carers, which strives to increase awareness and support for caregivers. The group examined emotional and financial struggles of unpaid caregivers during the COVID-19 crisis.

“The Embracing Carers report tells a critical story — that caregivers need more attention so that they can protect the people most at risk from COVID-19 and those who care for them,” C. Grace Whiting, J.D., president and CEO of the National Alliance for Caregiving told McKnight’s Home Care Daily. “Notably, the research found that the women in our lives shoulder more care burden and aren’t being heard.”

Most of these caregivers represent “mothers, sisters, aunts, and others who need our help,” Whiting added.

“The research also makes clear that it’s not enough just to talk about racial justice — we need to strengthen infrastructure for communities of color, where caregivers in racial or ethnic minorities face a greater risk from COVID-19 and less access to caregiving supports,” she said.

The study’s findings show that “the public and private sectors must address the holistic factors contributing to caregiver burnout, including the lack of respite care options, the need for caregiver-friendly workplace policies such as flexible working hours, and the financial strain of the additional costs of caregiving,” said Lynn Taylor, head of Global Healthcare Government and Public Affairs at Merck KGaA, known as EMD Serono in the U.S. and Canada. 

This article originally appeared on McKnight's Senior Living