Jacki Lyden in for Tom Ashbrook
The emotional and financial costs of taking care of elderly parents.
A new report belies the notion that Americans ignore the aged–in fact, some 61 million Americans care for a relative.
And if you added up all that unpaid labor, it would exceed Walmart’s total sales: 450 billion dollars.
Caring for the elderly at home is the ‘new normal,’ says the AARP. And its having a deep impact on our lives, as Baby Boomers empty their savings, and the phone rings at work: and its Mom, again. For the sixth time that morning.
This hour On Point: the caregiver’s dilemma.
Susan Reinhard, senior vice president at AARP (formerly the American Association of Retired Persons) and director of their Public Policy Institute.
Eileen DeGaetano, a caregiver.
Christina Irving, social worker at the Family Caregiver Alliance in San Francisco.
Yet more resources for caregivers here at caregiver.org.
From The Reading List:
- McClatchy: “Jeris Baker lives with her 91-year-old father in his Land Park home and takes care of him. She pays his bills. She doles out the 17 medications he takes every day for issues ranging from dementia to heart problems and macular degeneration. She watches over him at night, worried about his sleep apnea. She takes him to the doctor and deals with the maze of his medical insurance. She makes sure he has a comfortable life. And she’s grateful.”
- The New York Times: “Inspiration struck when Donna Appell was on the phone with her mother’s mail-order pharmacy one day, trying to determine why it had sent pills that were pink instead of the usual blue and whether that mattered.”
- AARP: “WASHINGTON — In 2009, approximately one in four adults in America experienced the realities of caring for an adult family member, partner or friend who suffered with chronic conditions or disabilities. A new report released today by AARP’s Public Policy Institute found the economic value of this unpaid care reached an estimated $450 billion in 2009—more than the total 2009 sales of Wal-Mart, America’s largest company, and more than the combined sales that year of the three largest publicly held auto companies (Toyota, Ford, Daimler). The $450 billion is a 21 percent increase over the $375 billion that the study found in 2007.”