I want to take a minute to recognize the 40 million Americans who perform a great labor of love every day: family caregivers. Thanks to their tireless efforts, parents, spouses, and other loved ones are able to remain at home — where they want to be. Day after day, these unsung heroes take on huge responsibilities that can be overwhelming, stressful and exhausting.
En español | Think for a moment how busy and chaotic everyday life can be: juggling careers, kids, finances and more. Now imagine also caring for a parent, spouse or child with a disability, maybe even around the clock. Every day about 40 million Americans — myself included — care for our loved ones so they can live independently at home and in their communities, where they want to be.
The phone rang one day when I was at work. It was my mom. “Come right away, Elaine, we need you,” she said. Mom had just driven Pop to the emergency room. I knew Pop must have been very sick, because Mom hadn’t driven a car in years.
A wider swath of Americans, from millennials to those ages 75-plus, are taking on the role of family caregiver for a loved one. But the burdens remain the same — long hours, no pay, heavy stress — and most are juggling caregiving with paid jobs, according to a new study from the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP.
Family caregivers in the U.S. spend an estimated 30 billion hours per year caring for older family and friends. That’s about $522 billion in care, according to a new Rand Corp. study, as measured by valuing the time caregivers have sacrificed in order to be able to provide care.
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