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Caregivers are Consumers, Too

This is the fourth in a series of blogs examining FIVE reasons why family caregiving is a critically important issue TODAY. Read the others: 1, 2, 3, 5.

REASON #4: The potential market opportunity is also enormous.

Businesses can also do a lot more to serve family caregivers: a market of millions of consumers, continuously turning over, who aren’t well-served by current marketplace offerings. These are consumers who spent an average of $7,000 dollars each on care-related expenses in 2015. Subtract the 25% that went to medical care, and they spent $210 billion on goods and services for their loved ones.

Start-ups and blue chips alike are starting to pay attention, betting that the nexus of aging, health and technology will be the “next big thing.” Last year, more than $14 billion in venture funding flowed into “digital health” tools, many of which have caregiving applications. That’s a fourteen-fold increase since 2010. Brand-name companies like CVS, Johnson & Johnson, and Best Buy are also making big investments in products and services for caregivers, and new AARP research shows that brick-and-mortar stores can earn the loyalty of family caregivers by making it easier to shop with their loved ones.

We’ve heard predictions about the effect of America’s aging on our economic fortunes, but few have fully accounted for the caregiving space and the potential upsides for businesses, markets, workers, and consumers if we can get it right. This is definitely a space to watch.

Nancy LeaMond, AARP

Nancy LeaMond is the chief advocacy and engagement officer for AARP, widely seen as one of the most powerful advocacy organizations. Leading its government affairs and legislative campaigns, she has the responsibility of driving the organization’s social mission on behalf of Americans 50-plus and their families. She also manages public education, volunteerism, multicultural outreach and engagement, and she directs major AARP initiatives that include supporting family caregivers through advocacy, education and innovative programs, and expanding AARP’s local footprint in communities across the country.

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