Senator Chris Murphy in Connecticut stated that three quarters of people in the state fully expect to provide some type of support to an aging loved one at some point in their life. He also noted that one in six are currently looking after an aging family member, with the majority of these caregivers being family members.
He went on to add that while he is among those men and women taking care of a loved one, many once thought that the government had developed a system intended to actually provide the right support systems and mechanisms for those over 65. However, that doesn’t meet up with reality.
In fact, when accounting for the total estimated working hours that men and women throughout the country devote to caring for aging loved ones, it is greater than the revenue generated by Apple, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, and Apple, all combined. In fact, according to Sen. Murphy’s estimates, the uncompensated total is $470 billion.
A part of the problem is that many individuals are dealing with diseases and other conditions that begin developing before the 65 year old threshold that generally defines a ‘senior citizen,’ who would then qualify (in many cases) for Medicaid services that can help pay for home care services.
In the meantime, the economic challenges tend to impact women more than men because about 80 percent of the caregivers in the U.S. are women. According to the article, Sen. Murphy, advocates talk ways to improve elder care in Connecticut, written by Mary O’Leary and published for the Register Citizen:
“One federal initiative would bring all the relevant agencies together to acknowledge the problem at the federal level, something Murphy is backing.
The senator said the economic fallout impacts women the most as they are the ones who are likely to leave a job and lose Social Security contributions in their prime earning years. This negatively impacts their ability to support themselves when they are older.”
On top of the growing challenges that so many family caregivers face is the expectation of many others requiring some type of support as they age. The Baby Boomer generation is set to retire and it’s expected that this generation will place a great deal more pressure on the system to provide support and care.
The first step in correcting any problem is to make people aware of it and while many family members struggle, there are other options, including home care services, and Sen. Murphy and others hope to improve the system to make it easier for families to offer the best care to loved ones in need.
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