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Survey Shows One-Third of Americans Play Caregiver Role

— Dominic Rouse/Getty Images

Today in America, more than 43 million adults provide care for loved ones over 50, with about three-fourths of caregivers also working outside of the home.

Caregiving is still mostly a woman’s job and many women are putting their career and financial futures on hold as they juggle part-time caregiving and full-time job requirements.

This is the reality reported in "Caregiving in the U.S. 2009" from the National Alliance for Caregiving in collaboration with AARP with funding from MetLife Foundation.

The research shows the average age of today’s caregiver is 50, the average care recipient is age 77, and that caregiving is a fluid role people move into and out of over time. Most caregivers are assisting other family members, usually their mothers.

According to an earlier AARP study, the economic value of family caregiving is estimated at $350 billion in the United States, and at $3.5 billion in the state of Iowa.

“Caregivers play a vital role and are the backbone of long-term care in our state” said Bruce Koeppl, AARP Iowa State Director. “While the care they provide often goes unnoticed, their contributions often delay or prevent more costly nursing home care and that can have a positive impact on our state Medicaid budget.”

Caregiver increasingly report needing help or information in five key areas: home safety, activities and entertainment, home care agencies, assisted living facilities and nursing homes.

A number of resources are available to assist Iowans in finding help and information about these topics, as well as local services and support. Tips and how to information for caregivers is available 24-7 at www.aarp.org/relationships/caregiving/. Information about local Iowa services and support is available on the Iowa Family Caregiver website at www.iowafamilycaregiver.org, or on Iowa’s online aging and disability resource center at www.lifelonglinks.org.

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