If you are a caregiver to a loved one, you understand the sacrifice it can be sometimes. Even tasks done out of love can feel tiring and overwhelming. And while you can hopefully see some of the fruits of your hard work, you might not know just how invaluable you are. When we consider the overall value that volunteer caregivers to seniors bring to American society, the facts are almost staggering. Family caregivers are some of the most unrecognized heroes of our society.
The Impressive Contribution of Unpaid Family Caregivers
According to a recent AARP report, the work done by volunteers giving care to elderly Americans is worth billions.
Approximately 41 million unpaid family caregivers provided an estimated 34 billion hours of care — worth a staggering $470 billion — to their parents, spouses, partners, and friends in 2017, according to the AARP report.
Now while that number sounds impressive on its own, it becomes even more impressive when you consider that it’s more than the annual cost of all out-of-pocket spending on U.S. health care ($366 billion in 2017), and also exceeds the total spending from all sources of paid caregiving ($366 billion in 2016) and the total combined value added to the U.S. economy by the education and arts/entertainment sectors ($460 billion in 2017).
That helps put the economic value of family caregivers in perspective.
The report reveals some other very interesting and probably surprising facts about family care providers in the US. Breaking the assumed stereotypes, 1 in 4 of unpaid family caregivers are millennials. 40% are men, and about 40% represent multicultural communities.
Unpaid family caregivers’ jobs are more impressive than just helping around the house and providing companionship. It’s common for unpaid family caregivers to pay for the care themselves (an average of $7,000, from a 2016 statistic). It’s also becoming more normal for these caregivers to carry out increasingly complex responsibilities such as giving injections and tending to wounds, says the report from AARP. In addition, about 60% of these unpaid caregivers are also fitting a paid job into their schedule. That’s a lot!
While the impressiveness of unpaid family caregivers continues to increase, there are other changes that are concerning. The report also explores the growing scope and complexity of caregiving, including an aging population, more family caregivers in the paid workforce, and the increasing amount of medical and nursing tasks entering the home. Statistics and studies show that while in 2010 there were 7.1 potential family caregivers available to care for everyone over age 80, by 2030 there might be only 4.1 potential caregivers for every person over age 80.
Reports like this one by AARP make it clear that even with the hard work and dedication of individuals caring for loved ones, the need for more family caregivers is increasing. It’s more important than ever to find a sustainable way for seniors to continue receiving the home care they need and deserve.
Are You an Unpaid Family Caregiver? Here’s How We Can Help You
As an unpaid family caregiver, you are already doing impressive and invaluable work. Do you feel like you’re the one who needs help sometimes? That’s what we’re here for. We are passionate about helping elderly people and those who care for and love them in the Fort Pierce area and beyond. As mentioned in the study by AARP, family caregivers have a lot of responsibility. Simply helping with household tasks would be a big job in itself! But usually, as a caregiver, you have more responsibility than that. Does your parent, grandparent, or other senior loved one need help with legal matters such as creating a will, updating or adjusting a will, setting up a trust, or planning out other areas of their estate? Do they have questions about power of attorney or appointing someone to handle their legal and healthcare decisions? Do you have questions about helping your loved one qualify for Medicaid benefits? As a truly caring elder law firm, we’re here to answer your questions and take a load off your shoulders. You don’t have to do everything on your own! We can help with the legal issues while you spend more time with the person you love! With a dedicated, experienced team and offices located in Fort Pierce and throughout the surrounding area, we can make caring for your loved one as stress-free as possible. With our comprehensive legacy planning services, we’re here to make the future seem a little less overwhelming and a little more certain. Give us a call today at our Fort Pierce office at 772-828-2588, or send a message online. Serving Treasure Coast seniors and those who love them.
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