Economic impact of family caregivers is substantial, report suggests

Share this article:

Well over 40 million Americans provided care for an adult family member in 2009, representing an unpaid economic impact of approximately $450 billion, according to a new report from the AARP Public Policy Institute.

The report, entitled "Valuing the Invaluable: The Growing Contributions and Costs of Family Caregiving, 2011 Update," describes the average family caregiver in 2009 as being a 49-year-old female juggling a full-time job and about 20 hours per week on caregiving tasks. There's a price for double duty: In addition to the wage loss stemming from leaves of absence, caregivers experience increased rates of stress, depression, physical health problems, social isolation, competing demands and financial hardship. AARP notes that the economic downturn is a factor in a 67% increase in requests for help from caregiver support services from 2007 to 2009.

But the study notes that family caregivers are an essential part long-term care as a whole. If family caregivers were no longer available, the AARP estimates, the economic cost to the U.S. healthcare and long-term services and supports (LTSS) systems would increase astronomically.

“Family caregiving has been shown to help delay or prevent the use of nursing home care,” notes the report summary. “There is also growing recognition of the value of family members to the delivery of health care, and the ways in which families influence health care decisions, treatments and outcomes."
Share this article:

More in News

Breier named new CEO at Kindred

Breier named new CEO at Kindred

Kindred Healthcare announced Thursday that it has chosen a new top executive to lead its push toward creating a mammoth national brand. Benjamin A. Breier, the company's current president and ...

Proposed managed care rule could accelerate shift away from nursing home care, official suggests

Proposed managed care rule could accelerate shift away ...

Proposed regulations slated for early 2015 likely will affect how Medicaid managed care balances home- versus facility-based long-term care, news sources reported Wednesday.

Assisted living residents say 'homelike' setting not so important

Contrary to conventional wisdom, assisted living residents might not place a high value on how "homelike" their surroundings are, suggest findings out of St. Catherine University in St. Paul, MN.