National Family Caregiver’s Month
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!