AARP report finds value of unpaid family caregiving in Illinois hits over $17 billion
In an article in the journal Nature, Uppsala researcher Martin Brazeau describes the skull and jaws of a fish that lived about 410 million years ago. The study may give important clues to the origin of jawed vertebrates, and thus ultimately our own evolution. Ptomacanthus anglicus was a very early jawed fish that lived in the Devonian
Full Post: Ancient fish provides new piece in the jigsaw puzzle of human origins
With the economy continuing it’s downward turn, family caregivers are stepping up to the plate to help loved ones in need.
A new AARP report found the value of unpaid family caregiving in Illinois hits over $17 billion, more than a $1 billion increase since 2006. While nearly 1.5 million family and friends in the state provide care for relatives, that number climbs as high as 2.3 million when short-term caregivers are taken into account.
According to the AARP Public Policy Institute Report, nationally, the value of family caregiving is $375 billion - 7 percent higher than in 2006, when the estimated value was $350 billion. The value exceeds the $311 billion spent on Medicaid in 2007.
“Family caregivers are a vital and largely unrecognized part of Illinois’ and the nation’s health and long-term care system,” said Bob Gallo, Sr. State Director for AARP in Illinois. “We often overlook how much family and friends contribute–whether it’s picking up groceries each week or providing daily health care for their loved ones.”
The AARP report, “Valuing the Invaluable, The Economic Value of Family Caregiving, 2008 Update,” estimates that 34 million Americans provide more than 20 hours of care per week to another adult, making informal caregiving a cornerstone of U.S. health and long-term care.
“Family caregivers are likely to be stretched even further in today’s tumultuous economy,” added Gallo.
The AARP report notes that informal caregivers of people 50-plus spent an average of $5,531 out-of-pocket in 2007 to care for their loved ones. That spending is often coupled with lost workdays, wages, health insurance and retirement savings. More than one-third of informal caregivers are forced to quit their jobs or reduce their working hours, with women more likely to leave the labor force entirely. Caregivers also frequently struggle with health care bills and medical debt–and experience chronic stress. Even less noticed is the physical and emotional toll caregiving can take.
The AARP report makes several recommendations to assist caregivers, including adopting “family friendly” workplace policies; assessing caregivers’ needs and providing them with needed supports; expanding funding for the National Family Caregiver Support Program and the Lifespan Respite Care Act; and supporting family caregivers in chronic care coordination programs and care transitions.
Older people who spent at least 14 hours a week taking care of a disabled spouse lived longer than others. That is the unexpected finding of a University of Michigan study forthcoming in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science. The study supports earlier research showing that in terms of health and
Full Post: Unexpected finding: Caring for ailing spouse may prolong your life
One quarter of all family caregivers of Alzheimer’s disease patients succumb to the stress of providing care to a loved one and become hospital patients themselves, according to an Indiana University study published in the November 2008 issue of the Journal of General Internal Medicine. Researchers from the Indiana University School of Medicine, the
Full Post: Study finds 25% of family caregivers of AD patients go to ER or are hospitalized
A study of people living with the devastating effects of multiple sclerosis (MS) has shown the true economic cost of living with the incurable, life-long condition. The independent research is one of the largest ever studies into the financial impact of MS and has revealed that the cost of being diagnosed with MS is on
Full Post: Study shows true economic cost of living with multiple sclerosis
Clinicians in the intensive care unit (ICU) often care for patients who are on several life support measures at once. When such a patient is dying and the decision is reached to withdraw life support, these clinicians may make an imperfect compromise in seeking to balance the complex needs of the patient and the patient’s
Full Post: Prolonging the withdrawal of life support in the ICU affects family satisfaction with care
Pollution by phosphorous and nitrogen isn’t just bad for lakes, streams and other bodies of fresh water. According to researchers at Kansas State University, it’s also bad for Americans’ pocketbooks. Freshwater pollution impacts individuals on a level as basic as how much they spend on bottled water, said Walter Dodds, professor of biology at K-State.
Full Post: Freshwater pollution costs U.S. at least $4.3 billion a year