Forty million Americans are currently caregivers

KEY TAKEAWAY:The massive generation of Boomers, 75 million strong today, is creating both an age wave and a caregiving crunch as it moves into its seventh decade.  The estimated economic value of family and friend caregiving is roughly $500 billion per year—3 times greater than Medicaid’s expenditures on professional long-term care. Why do pharma ignore them?

The emotional and family ties that influence members of a family or community to care for each other, the cost of professional caregiving is staggering. Professional care, either inside or outside of a care facility, is prohibitively expensive. While figures vary between states, care is costly. A full-time home health aide costs, on average, $46,000 per year, and a nursing home costs $82,000 per year for a semi-private room.  Given the steep expense, many families choose (or feel obliged) to step in to help a family member or friend.

Caregiving is a Complex and Challenging Life Stage: Caregiving is a major and transformative life stage in which most of us will participate as caregivers, care recipients— or both. While the duration and particulars vary, most instances of caregiving involve significant shifts in the roles, responsibilities and relationship to a loved one.

The Journey of Caregiving is Filled with Ups and Downs: Caregiving is a journey rife with emotions, with the ultimate goal of maintaining the dignity of the care recipient. It is a journey filled with honor, gratitude, and resilience, as well as stress, anxiety and fear. Six factors in influence the journey:

1. The relationship between the caregiver and the recipient of care;

2. The presence (or absence) of others on a caregiving team;

3. The services and help needed;

4. The recipient’s health condition and prognosis. The duration and intensity of care; and

6. The financial resources available—both of the caregiver and the care recipient—to cover the costs of care.

Caregiving is a Burden and a Blessing: Caregiving is not without sacrifice. Many caregivers report significant costs in terms of their finances, their health, their time and leisure, their work and their other relationships.

83% of sandwiched caregivers say they are struggling to find balance between caregiving and other responsibilities.

It’s almost impossible to find caregiver information on pharma websites yet caregivers will spend a lot of time online looking for help and emotional support.  What is the ROI of helping caregivers?  Peace of mind and understanding that we are doing something to help the people we serve.

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