Jul 252011
 

Care transitions rely on family caregivers for their execution. The following study of the economic costs of family caregiving in the United States was recently released by AARP. Thanks to Lynn Feinberg, we have permission to reproduce this piece on their major findings.

— Janice Lynch Schuster

[Republished with permission from http://www.aarp.org/relationships/caregiving/info-07-2011/valuing-the-invaluable.html]

By Lynn Feinberg, Susan C. Reinhard, Ari Houser, and Rita Choula – AARP

Family support is critical to remaining in one’s home and in the community, but often comes at substantial costs to caregivers themselves, to their families, and to society.  If family caregivers were no longer available, the economic cost to the U.S. health care and long-term services and supports (LTSS) systems would increase astronomically.

AARP’s Insight on the Issues, part of the Valuing the Invaluable series on the economic value of family caregiving, updates national and individual state estimates of the economic value of family caregiving using the most current available data. The entire PDF can be downloaded from AARP at http://assets.aarp.org/rgcenter/ppi/ltc/i51-caregiving.pdf  A factsheet with highlights from the report can be found at: http://assets.aarp.org/rgcenter/ppi/ltc/fs229-ltc.pdf

In 2009, about 42.1 million family caregivers in the U.S. provided care to an adult with limitations in daily activities at any given point in time, and about 61.6 million provided care at some time during the year.

The estimated economic value of their unpaid contributions was approximately $450 billion in 2009, up from an estimated $375 billion in 2007.  The report also explains the contributions of family caregivers, details the costs and consequences of providing family care, and provides policy recommendations to better support caregiving families.

Key Words: family caregivers, economic costs, caregiver burdens, AARP

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