Archive | April, 2010

The Economic Value of Caregivers

6 Apr

AARP recently released a comprehensive report on the economic value of caregiving. If you are caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease, it’s important to know how your informal caregiving affects our currently fragile economy. Consider these facts:

  • In 2007, approximately 34 million family members were providing informal caregiving at any given point.
  • Approximately 52 million family members provided informal caregiving at some time during 2007.
  • The estimated value of unpaid caregiving for 2007 was $375 billion.
  • This is an increase over the 2006 estimated value of unpaid caregiving, which was $350 billion.
  • $375 billion is comparable to the total sales of Wal-Mart stores in the same year.
  • The economic value of unpaid eldercare was more than long-term care Medicaid spending in all states.
  • In 36 states, the economic value of caregiving was more than three times as high as long-term Medicaid spending.
  • The economic value of unpaid eldercare, including caring for those with Alzheimer’s, was more than three times as high as spending on home- and community-based Medicaid services.
  • In 19 states, the economic value of caregiving was more than ten times as high as home- and community-based Medicaid spending.
  • Unpaid caregiving includes personal care and help with daily tasks as well as assistance with complex medical procedures and administering medications.
  • The “typical” caregiver in the United States is a 46-year-old woman working outside the home who provides more than 20 hours a week of eldercare to her mother.
  • Those providing eldercare reported spending an average of $5,531 out-of-pocket for caregiving expenses in 2007.
  • Long-distance caregivers reported the highest out-of-pocket expenses ($8,728) while those caring for someone nearby reported average out-of-pocket caregiving expenses of $4,570.

The report points out that family caregivers are the “backbone” of the United States’ long-term care system. I couldn’t agree more.

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