CAregivers need government help or they'll go broke
(Source: USA Today, By: Gail Sheehy) Family caregivers are the largest caregiver group in the workforce — 65 million Americans who provide unpaid care for a chronically ill, disabled or aged family member. The value of the services they give free to our society is estimated to be $375 billion a year. That is almost twice as much as the government spends on home care and nursing home services combined ($158 billion).
In today's cost-slashing environment, why should corporate America care if family caregivers have to foot the entire bill for keeping Mom and Dad going?
One reason: Caregivers for elderly loved ones cost employers 8% more in health-care costs, estimated to be worth $13.4 billion a year. And business takes a heavy hit from lost productivity by caregivers.
Kathy Greenlee, President Obama's assistant secretary on aging, addressed the conference without ever mentioning the program that she is charged to implement: The CLASS Act.
A year ago, when Obama signed this into law, it was heralded as a long-term health insurance plan offered by the federal government to working Americans who could voluntarily enroll through their employers. The CLASS plan would provide participants with the cash to help pay for needed caregiving assistance if they become functionally limited.
In other words, they could pay their family caregivers a minimum of $50 a day. But the budget-cutters in prominence in Congress have put the law through a buzz saw. Greenlee is tasked, by law, to release details of the plan by Oct.1, 2012. She refuses to be interviewed about it. She has said that she won't put forward a plan that is not financially sustainable.
Supporting Families Through Life ChangesProviding support to the loved one needing care can be a challenging task, especially if you are the one that is caring for them as you need support as well. There are some suggestions to help.
Classes, Support Groups for caregiversOne of the most common mistakes that new caregivers make is not taking full advantage of the resources that are out there to provide support for them. One of the best ways for a caregiver to maintain their well-being is to connect with others.