AARP: Family caregivers' economic impact astronomical

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Family caregivers play a critical role in the nation's long-term care delivery system, providing services valued at more than $350 billion in 2006, according to a new study from AARP.

The savings to the healthcare system come at a high price to businesses in the way of lost time at work and reduced benefits, as well as additional emotional and physical stresses, AARP Public Policy Institute researchers say. They estimate the added costs amount to $33 billion a year.

About 19% of all U.S. workers are caregivers, most of them women who are employed either full or part-time. The study, "Valuing the Invaluable: A New Look at the Economic Value of Family Caregiving," is at: http://www.aarp.org/research/housing-mobility/caregiving/ib82_caregiving.html.