November is National Family Caregivers MonthPosted by Medicare Made Clear
By John Schall, CEO, Caregiver Action Network
November is National Family Caregivers Month and this year’s theme this is Family Caregivers – Now More Than Ever!
Each year, more and more Americans are caring for a loved one with a chronic condition, a disability or the frailties of old age. There are as many as 90 million family caregivers in the U.S. today, according to Caregiver Action Network.
Two out of every 5 adults are family caregivers. 39% of all adult Americans are caring for a loved one who is sick or disabled – up from 30% in 2010.
Alzheimer’s is driving the numbers up. More than 15 million family caregivers are providing care to more than 5 million loved ones with Alzheimer’s disease.
But it’s not just the elderly who need caregiving. The number of parents caring for children with special needs is increasing, too, due to the rise in cases of many childhood conditions.
Wounded veterans require family caregivers, too. As many as 1 million Americans are caring for veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars who are suffering from traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder or other wounds and illnesses.
And it’s not just women doing the caregiving. Men are now almost as likely to say they are family caregivers as women are (37% of men; 40% of women). And 36% of younger Americans between ages 18 and 29 are family caregivers as well, including 1 million young people who care for loved ones with Alzheimer’s.
Family caregiving is serious work. Almost half of family caregivers perform complex medical/nursing tasks for their loved ones, such as managing multiple medications, providing wound care and operating specialized medical equipment.
Family caregivers are the backbone of the nation’s long-term care system. Family caregivers provide $450 billion worth of unpaid care each year. That’s more than total Medicaid funding, and twice as much as homecare and nursing home services combined.
With the ranks of family caregivers growing every year, we recognize the importance to the nation of the role that family caregivers play Now More Than Ever!
Caregivers need help, too. The Caregiver Action Network provides educational resources to help with the many responsibilities that caregivers face.
It’s National Family Caregivers Month. If you are a family caregiver, go to www.CaregiverAction.org for information and support. And if someone you know is caring for a family member, take a moment this month to express your appreciation for what they do every day of the year.
For more information, contact the Medicare helpline 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227), TTY 1-877-486-2048. If you have questions about Medicare Made Clear, call 1-877-619-5582, TTY 711, 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. local time, seven days a week.
Medicare & You: Learn about Original Medicare coverage and costs in this annual publication.
CaregiverAction.org: Get information and support for caregivers.
Family Caregivers are Wired for Health http://www.pewinternet.org/Reports/2013/Family-Caregivers/Summary-of-Findings.aspx
Alzheimer’s Facts and Figures http://www.alz.org/alzheimers_disease_facts_and_figures.asp
Military Caregivers: Cornerstones of Support for Our Nation’s Wounded, Ill and Injured Veterans http://www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RR244.html
New Report Finds Almost Half of Family Caregivers Perform Medical and Nursing Tasks: Medication Management, Wound Care Part of New Normal for Caregivers http://www.aarp.org/about-aarp/press-center/info-10-2012/New-Report-Finds-Almost-Half-of-Family-Caregivers-Perform-Medical-and-Nursing-Tasks.html
Valuing the Invaluable: 2011 Update – The Growing Contributions and Costs of Family Caregiving http://www.aarp.org/relationships/caregiving/info-07-2011/valuing-the-invaluable.html