Monday, June 08, 2009

The Downturn and the Caregiver

As addressed in George Moschis's essential book Baby Boomers and Their Parents, the role of the caregiver is an increasing critical part in the American family. Members of the Silent Generation are living longer than previous generations, but often face critical care needs as they collect an array of maladies associated with advanced aging.

The challenge of the family caregiver was highlighted in an article in yesterday's New York Times. Here are the quick takeaways.

The economic crisis has spread its pain widely, but it has placed special stresses on the estimated 44 million Americans who provide care for an elderly or disabled relative or spouse, many of whom have already made themselves financially vulnerable trying to balance work and family.

In a recent survey of 1,005 caregivers, one in six said they had lost a job during the downturn, and 21 percent said they had to share housing with family members to save money. The survey was conducted by the National Alliance for Caregiving and Evercare, a division of the UnitedHealth Group, which provides long-term health care.

Caregivers spend an average of $5,500 a year as part of their responsibilities, not counting lost wages, according to a 2007 survey by the National Alliance for Caregiving.

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