The burden of caring for the elderly often falls on family members, but who helps the helpers? About 17.7 million people care for someone older than 65, according to a report by the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine. “The nation’s family caregivers provide the lion’s share of long-term care for our older adult population,” the report states. “They are also central to older adults’ access to and receipt of health care and community-based social services. Yet the need to recognize and support caregivers is among the least appreciated challenges facing the aging U.S. population.”
We’re talking about people making a major commitment. The report states that caregivers devote about 235 hours a month helping elderly family members with three or more tasks a day. And they usually donate this time—the equivalent of two full-time jobs—for five years.
The report wants the next presidential administration to create a nation strategy for helping caregivers that includes economic assistance.