As part of National Family Caregivers Month this November, it’s important to recognize the role family caregivers have in caring for our aging population. Four out of every 10 American adults provide care to a loved one who is ill, disabled, or functionally declining, according to a 2013 Pew Research Center survey. The AARP Public Policy Institute estimates the economic value of this unpaid care to be $450 billion annually. Family caregiving is especially prevalent among adults who are still in the workforce — those aged 30 to 64 — requiring them to balance the significant healthcare needs of their family member with the numerous demands of their own work and home lives. Nearly 70 percent of working caregivers report having to rearrange their work schedule, decrease their hours, take unpaid leave from work, or stop work entirely in order to fulfill their caregiving responsibilities. This can result in lost wages and, for some, early retirement.
This National Family Caregivers Month, you can provide caregivers with training, resources, and strategies to help lessen the strain in their daily lives. These individuals not only help seniors remain stable enough to stay in their homes where they are often most comfortable, but they also provide seniors with necessary companionship, emotional support, and care coordination during transitions from hospital to home. Here, we take a closer look at family caregiving and ways you can help caregivers ensure they maintain their own health and well-being.