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Valuing the Invaluable: The Economic Value of Family Caregiving, 2008 Update

In 2007, about 34 million family caregivers provided care at any given point in time, and about 52 million provided care at some time during the year. The estimated economic value of their unpaid contributions was approximately $375 billion in 2007, up from an estimated $350 billion in 2006.

This report provides updates to the state and national estimates in the 2007 Valuing the Invaluable reports.

The economic value of caregiving exceeded total Medicaid long-term care (LTC) spending in all states, and was more than three times as high in 36 states. Compared with Medicaid home- and community-based service spending, the economic value of family caregiving was at least three times as high in all states, and more than 10 times as high in 19 states.

The costs of caregiving to caregivers themselves are more than a simple accounting of hours. They include direct out-of-pocket expenses, economic insecurity caused by changes in work patterns, and health effects.

State and national data are presented on the economic value of family caregivers and their effects on the health and LTC systems. Policy recommendations at both the federal and state levels are offered to prevent family caregivers from being overwhelmed by the demands placed upon them and to fund more services and supports for them. (8 pages)

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