I recently read a report titled "The Journey of Caregiving: Honor, Responsibility, and Financial Complexity". It was conducted by Merrill Lynch and Age Wave. Many of the findings are truly startling, many are commonplace to those of us who are or have been caregivers, and it includes a stark look at the coming need for caregiving. This study was professional competed and included responses from over 2,100 caregivers or persons who had been caregivers within the last three years.
This report opens this way "According to this study, eight in ten Americans say that caregiving is the "new normal" in American families. Forty million Americans are currently caregivers — almost as many as the number of Americans holding student debt. These caregivers are providing assistance to nearly 50 million adults receiving care."
WOW! 40 million of us are nonprofessional caregivers and we are caring for some 50 million of our family and friends. We are hardly a cottage industry that is for sure!
It continues with more staggering numbers. Family members provide more than 95% of nonprofessional care for older adults who do not live in nursing facilities. In total family caregivers provide 37 BILLION hours of care annually! Caregivers looking after family or friends log three times as many hours per year than professional caregivers. The estimated value of our caregiving is roughly $500 billion a year — this is 3 TIMES GREATER than Medicaid's expenditures for professional long-term care! Plus they estimate 7 in 10 Americans turning 65 today will need care for prolonged periods in their lives.
They also point out care is expensive! A full time home health aide costs, on average, $46,000 a year while a semi-private room in a nursing home runs $82,000 a year! Like I said staggering!
Not surprising to any of us caregivers the report states "Forty-three percent of our respondents said that the biggest negative surprise of caregiving was how much care and care-related expenses cost."
There is much more of interest in this report and I will post more as I slice and dice it!
Strength, Courage, and Peace!