Caregivers Count Too! Section 2: Why Are Family Caregivers Vital?
Why Family Caregivers are Vital to Health Care and Long-Term Care
Many people rely on them …
- Most people (80%) who need LTC supportive services live at home or in community settings, not in institutions.
- More than 78% of adults who receive LTC at home get all their care from unpaid family and friends.
Family caregivers fill big gaps in health and long-term care …
- Changes in health care delivery, including shorter hospital stays and limited discharge planning, require family members to provide more difficult, intense care for longer periods of time.
- Caregivers of people with chronic illnesses or disabilities often have the primary responsibility for carrying out care plans, ensuring that the care recipient’s treatment is a success.
- The shortage of direct care workers in HCBS and nursing home settings leaves many family caregivers without an alternative.
They are saving us money …
- Unpaid caregiving by family and friends has an estimated national economic value (in 2004) of $306 billion annually—exceeding combined costs for nursing home care ($103.2 billion) and home health care ($36.1 billion).
But… they are not taking care of themselves!
- One-fourth of women caregivers report health problems as a result of their caregiving activities.
- Caregivers report higher levels of depressive symptoms and mental health problems than do their noncaregiving peers (20% to 50% report depressive disorders or symptoms).
- Two-thirds of caregivers report they need help to find care for themselves, to balance work and family responsibilities and to manage emotional and physical stress.
[See Data Sources for Statistics for the statistics in this section.]