Economic Impact of Unpaid Home Caregiving

Paul Krugman reported today in the NY Times on the web (http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/02/09/a-hidden-cost-of-health-care-patient-time/) that the time patients spend getting services should be reflected in the way we calculate healthcare costs. He estimated that this translated into $240 billion annually (2008 “Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures”-Family Caregiving). Another un-paid healthcare expense that should be taken into consideration is caregiving at home by family and friends. Seventy percent of people with Alzheimer’s disease and  other dementia’s are being taken care of at home. This translates into 9.8 million family and other unpaid caregivers of people with dementia, providing 8.4 billion hours of care.  At $10.58 per hour (which is the average of minimum wage and home healthcare wage), the economic value of care comes to $89 billion. This does not include out of pocket expenses for healthcare, home and community services such as personal care and adult day center services. Seniors are cared for at home because unless you are destitute or have long term care insurance, facilities to care for elders who cannot live independently costs between $30,000 and $60,000 a year. You also have to consider the economic impact of caregiving on the caregiver. Many caregivers have high levels of stress and this negatively impacts their health, employment, income and financial security. These costs cannot be dismissed and they will only increase as our population ages. It is time to look at some of the recommendations made by the National Commission for Quality in Long-Term Care (http://www.qualitylongtermcarecommission.org/pdf/Final_Report_NCQLTC_20071203.pdf) and arrive at an equitable way to finance high quality long-term care.

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One Response to “Economic Impact of Unpaid Home Caregiving”

  1. Sumit November 13, 2015 at 12:10 pm #

    This is an excellent acritle on some of the options available to caregivers. Taking care of a loved one with Alzheimer’s can be a difficult task, and this acritle provides great information on a number of available resources. Adult day care centers like Active Day can provide care, companionship, and much more for your loved one. Consider adult day care for your loved one. It provides a great alternative to traditional care, with many locations and affordable options.

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