Sometimes I Feel Like a Piece of Bologna

Monday, November 18, 2013

National Family Caregiver’s Month

November is National Family Caregiver’s Month, so I want to salute you, my readers, for the care you give. As I talk with caregivers, I see men and women who are laying down their lives for aging parents, disabled spouses, or others they love. In the process, the caregivers’ hopes and dreams are often put on the back burner. Not only do they watch the decline of someone they love, but they also sacrifice their work, their goals, their finances, and sometimes their marriages. It isn’t easy.

Just how valuable are you? According to several AARP studies, 65.7 million caregivers (29% of the U.S. adult population) providing care to someone who is ill, disabled or aged. Caregiver services were valued at $450 billion per year in 2009- up from $375 billion in year 2007. At $450 billion in 2011, the value of informal caregiving exceeded the value of paid home care, more than total Medicaid spending in 2009, as much as Wal-Mart sales ($408 billion), and nearly exceeding total expenditures for the Medicaid program in 2009 ($509 billion). That’s a lot of value, folks! And the value of unpaid family caregivers will likely continue to be the largest source of long-term care services in the U.S. since the aging population 65+ will more than double between the years 2000 and 2030, increasing to 71.5 million from 35.1 million in 2000.

Over 34 percent of caregivers provide more than 75 hours per week caregiving. That doesn’t leave time for much else. Seventy percent of working caregivers made some job change to accommodate their caregiving role. 12% of caregivers reduced work hours or took a less demanding job while 9%, gave up work entirely, compared to 3% that took an early retirement.

So thank you, you priceless family caregivers. Yes, you’re squished, but you are so very important. So please, try to take some time for yourself. Take care of yourself. And pat yourself on the back. Well done!

Photo Credit: KaCey 97007

1 comment(s):

My mother lives with us and I wouldn't want it any other way. People don't realize how much love a multi-generational house produces!
My husband and I are making a film, The Red Suitcase, and I thought you might be interested in our story. It’s a mother/daughter road movie that we’re developing about a 66 year old woman who, with her grown daughter's help, has to find the courage to start her life over. The film is based on a true story about my mom, who suddenly found herself alone and penniless after her husband of 35 years, my dad, walked out of her life. I wrote this as a testament and tribute to her for being an inspiration, and how much family matters. It stars Kathleen Chalfant and Harris Yulin. 
I love how much you’re keeping people connected and healthy and vital, and also through just plain inspiration. I'm sure you are aware of how many people today, as they grow in years, are becoming more and more marginalized from our mainstream culture. My film is an attempt to both entertain (there are heaps of laughs and adventures in this film by the way), and to illuminate what I feel is a dark corner of America, where a large amount of older men and women struggle, disposable and forgotten. I want to shine a light on that to people, and do it in a way that they’ll enjoy.
Some months back I began to contact Boomer writers, artists and bloggers like yourself to help me increase awareness about the film. And so far I’ve been overjoyed by the wholehearted support that we’ve been getting! Boomer bloggers, authors and artists across the country, are taking part to help support us, it’s been incredible. The list includes Huffington Post, AARP weekly columnist Barbara Hanna Grufferman, author/blogger Dorothy Sander, blogger Barbara Torris, Ann Quasman of Women Talk Live, the award winning painter/sculpture couple and aging advocates Alice and Richard Matzkin, Eileen Williams of Feisty Side of Fifty and award winning Photographer Robbie Kaye. And the list is growing. I wish you were on it!
But we still need to seriously get this out there for us to succeed. Below there’s a link to our campaign where you can see a promo and a lot more about my film. If you like what you see, would you be willing to mention it somewhere on your blog?
Chris and I are using indiegogo to generate funding. We launched a 60 day campaign on November 13, 2013, and are looking for further support to get the movie made. Here’s the link:
Thanks so much for your time, and I hope to get an opportunity to speak with you about it.

Dana White

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:32 AM  

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