Family caregivers in Nevada provided 324 million hours of care—worth an estimated $4.3 billion—to their parents, spouses, partners, and other adult loved ones in 2013, according to AARP Public Policy Institute’s new report, Valuing the Invaluable: 2015 Update. The total estimated economic value of uncompensated care provided by the nation’s family caregivers surpassed total Medicaid spending ($449 billion), and nearly equaled the annual sales ($469 billion) of the four largest U.S. tech companies combined (Apple, Hewlett Packard, IBM, and Microsoft) in 2013.
Family caregiving for relatives or close friends with chronic, disabling, or serious health problems so they can remain in their home is nearly universal today. In 2013, about 350,000 family caregivers in Nevada helped another adult loved one carry out daily activities (such as bathing or dressing, preparing meals, administering medications, driving to doctor visits, and paying bills) every week. About 500,000 individuals in Nevada performed family caregiving activities over the course of the year.
“This new report demonstrates that we need to do more to recognize and assist the hundreds of thousands of caregivers in our state – a silent army that in many ways forms the backbone of our health care system,” said AARP Nevada Interim State Director Hilarie Grey. “Providing access to resources and education, fostering awareness among employers, and building support for key legislation can go a long way to help.”
Family Caregivers in the Future
As Americans live longer and have fewer children, fewer family members will be available for older adults to rely on for everyday help in the future. The ratio of potential family caregivers to the growing number of older people has already begun a steep decline. In 2010, there were 7.2 potential family caregivers for every person age 80 and older. By 2030, that ratio will fall sharply to 4 to 1, and is projected to drop further to 3 to 1 in 2050.
Impact of Caregiving on Jobs, Money, and Health
Family caregivers report that the stress of caregiving affects their physical and emotional health, finances, and their jobs.
- More than half (55%) of family caregivers report being overwhelmed by the amount of care their family member needs.
- Nearly 4 in 10 (38%) family caregivers report a moderate (20%) to high degree (18%) of financial strain as a result of providing care.
- In 2014, the majority (60%) of family caregivers had full- or part-time jobs.
Strategies and Policies Needed to Help Caregivers
“AARP strongly supports strategies and policies to assist caregivers, like the CARE Act, which unanimously passed by both houses of the Nevada Legislature during the 2015 session,” said Grey. “The fact that the CARE Act not only received bipartisan support among lawmakers, but was also endorsed by more than 50 organizations across the state shows that family caregiving is a critical issue with universal impact across the lifespan.”
The CARE Act, which takes effect in January, 2016, helps caregivers stay informed when a loved one is hospitalized, and ensures they are trained on any needed after-care when the family member returns home. The intent of the bill was to foster independent living at home, and reduce the need for costly hospital re-admissions.
“Valuing the Invaluable: 2015 Update” Methodology
The estimates in this report by AARP’s Public Policy Institute are based on a meta-analysis of 11 U.S.-based surveys of family caregivers conducted between 2009 and 2014. Estimates are based on about 40 million caregivers providing an average of 18 hours of care per week to a parent, spouse/partner, or other adult loved one, at an average value of $12.51 per hour. ‘Caregiver’ is defined as an adult age 18 and older providing care to a parent, spouse, or other adult loved one with their daily activities such as bathing or dress, preparing meals, and/or managing their finances, currently or within the last month.
- AARP Caregiving Resource Center
- Caregiving in the US: 2015 Report
- Home Alone: Family Caregivers Providing Complex Chronic Care (October 2012)
- The ABA/AARP Checklist for Family Caregivers: A Guide to Making It Manageable (2015)
- Amy Goyer’s ABA/AARP Juggling Life, Work and Caregiving (2015)
- AARP’s I Heart Caregivers Initiative