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“There are four kinds of people in the world: those who have been caregivers, those who currently are caregivers, those who will be caregivers, and those who will need caregivers.”
—Rosalynn Carter, former first lady and long-time caregiver advocate
We all know someone at sometime who is a caregiver. It’s not just those who are trained health care professionals, caregivers are anyone providing assistance to another person who is ill, disabled, or needs regular help. It can be anyone who helps with grocery shopping, house cleaning or caring for someone confined to a bed.
Caregiving may begin with small steps, but over time the demands grow. Today, some 44 million Americans are providing care taking care of an older family member at any given time, and that number is expected to double over the next 25 years.
For many Americans, life at 40, 50 or even 60 will include care for an aging parent or relative. Family caregivers provide the vast majority of care to older people who need help with daily tasks. As the nation grows older, the need for caregiving will be as commonplace as the need for child care. Every family has the opportunity to talk about a caregiving plan tailored to the needs and wishes of those receiving the care – before a crisis.
Most Americans understand why it’s important to plan for the future. But when it comes to caring for an aging loved one, most families don’t have a plan until there is a problem.
Every family should seize the opportunity to talk about a caregiving plan tailored to the needs and wishes of those receiving care, it is never too late. Families and friends who provide unpaid care often do so at the expense of their own health and financial well being.
Many caregivers make major changes at work to take care of their family or loved one. Unfortunately, they sometimes lose wages, future retirement income, and necessary benefits like health care.
For employers concerned about rising healthcare costs, helping employees in an eldercare situation is a smart and cost-effective strategy. While rewarding, family caregivers are often struggling to balance caring for older relatives with work and other demands. In fact, research shows that companies get a $3 to $14 return on every $1 invested in eldercare benefits.
AARP is working to deliver new resources to help families, employers and caregivers meet the needs of the ones they love. Our online Caregiving Resource Center www.aarp.org/caregivers is for everyone - whether you’re just starting out in your new role or caring for someone who’s near the end of his or her life.
You’ll find all the information needed to help make the job as easy—and rewarding—as possible at aarp.org/caregivers, or download our free guide especially for caregivers in the workplace "Prepare to Care: A Planning Guide for Families".
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