CHICAGO, July 22, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Caregivers have an important, yet often unacknowledged, role in caring for family members in need. They play an essential part in the social, health, and economic fabric of the United States, but at a cost to their physical, emotional, financial, and personal well-being. In Illinois alone, over 1.56 million caregivers assist their loved ones with an array of services, their unpaid value amounting to billions. Such data detailing the economic value of family caregivers comes from an AARP Public Policy Institute series, Valuing the Invaluable, which updates national and state estimates on caregiving. The 2015 report includes updated data for the nation and individual states, legislation passed and put into effect that has or will assist family caregivers, and the key challenges caregivers face while caring for their loved ones.
The report states that in 2013 about 40 million caregivers provided an estimated 37 billion hours of care to an adult with limitations in daily activities, amounting to unpaid contributions of approximately $470 billion. Family caregivers in Illinois provided 1.45 billion hours of work—worth an estimated $18.5 billion—to their parents, spouses, partners, and other adult loved ones.
"These numbers further enforce the need for all of us to assist Illinois caregivers in any way we can," said AARP Illinois State Director, Bob Gallo. "We've made some strides in the past year, with the General Assembly's passage of the CARE (Caregiver Advise, Record, Enable) Act, but there are so many more ways that we can help caregivers as they look after their loved ones."
The report lists a number of bills passed at the federal and state level, including the formation of the federal Assisting Caregivers Today (ACT) Congressional Caucus; the Institute of Medicine's establishment of a Committee on Family Caregiving of Older Adults; a report released by the federal Commission on Long-Term Care that elevated caregiving to national discussion; the 13 states who have enacted the CARE Act; and more.
While the report details improvements made in hopes of assisting caregivers, it also lays out many ways in which caregivers continue to be challenged from an emotional, financial, and work standpoint. Valuing the Invaluable identifies family caregivers as an essential part of the U.S. economic fabric, and though there have been some recent policy advances at the state and federal levels, it states a need for progress in recognizing and supporting caregivers.
SOURCE AARP Illinois