I’ll bet you had no idea, but you, the unpaid family caregiver—and all the other 34 million like you—are the fastest way to bankrupt our nation, America, The Beautiful. “What?” you ask.
What I mean is this: If all you unpaid family caregivers suddenly went on strike and demanded pay for all the unpaid family caregiving you do, our country, our society would be brought to its knees.
The best estimate is that 90% of all long term caregiving for seniors is performed by…well, YOU! – the unpaid family caregiver. In dollars, that equates to, roughly speaking, a whopping $500 billion annually.
To put that in perspective, imagine all the senior care residences under our country’s vast, beautiful for spacious skies. Add to that picture ALL the paid private-duty in-home caregivers serving seniors in their own homes from sea to shining sea. Add all that up in to one lump sum, stand atop the purple mountains’ majesty, looking down across the fruited plain, and you’ll see that it’s merely pennies compared to what you, family caregiver, are doing day in and day out faithfully.
In an effort to help families navigate through the maze of long term care, I would like to take this opportunity to invite you to join our community discussion by emailing me questions or issues that you would like to see covered in the future.
So in closing, I would like to leave you with a few more points to ponder about you, the unpaid family caregiver:
First, Caregivers report having difficulty finding time for one’s self (35%), managing emotional and physical stress (29%), and balancing work and family responsibilities (29%).
Second, about 73% of surveyed caregivers said praying helps them cope with caregiving stress, 61% said that they talk with our seek advice from friends or relatives, and 44% read about caregiving in books or other materials.
So, until next time, please do me, and the rest of “America! America!” a big favor and take care of yourself, because you are what we sing about—amongst other things—when we say, “God shed His grace on thee.” Yes, you, unpaid family caregiver, are a big part of that grace being shed upon us, so please, please know this: You, unpaid family caregiver, deserve—and even more so, NEED—to be taken care of and have time for yourself.
Mark J. Cimino, is Chief Executive Caregiver of CiminoCare, a Sacramento-based assisted living provider. Mark can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org