Caregiving for Adults
In the 2009 Caregiving in the U.S. report by the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP, it was estimated that approximately 48.9 million men and women in the United States provided unpaid care to someone older than age 18. These caregivers represented an estimated 28 million households (24% of all U.S. households). The one-year economic value of this unpaid labor force was recently estimated to be $450 billion (Feinburg, et. al, 2011).
If current trends continue, by 2030 the number of Americans aged 65 years and older is estimated to be 71.5 million— more than double what it is now. Offering policies that provide legal protections as well as programs that support caregivers' needs is necessary now and in the future.
Raising Expectations: A State Scorecard on Long-Term Services and Supports for Older Adults, People with Physical Disabilities, and Family Caregivers, published in September 2011 by AARP, the Commonwealth Fund, and the SCAN Foundation provides a way of measuring state-level performance of long-term services and supports systems (LTSS) that provide assistance to older people and adults with disabilities. It is designed to help states to improve their LTSS systems to ensure that older people and adults with disabilities maximize their independence and well-being by exercising choice and control over their lives. Among the four dimensions assessed by the Scorecard is whether caregivers are receiving the needed support by examining state laws that can aid caregivers. The Scorecard reports wide variation among the states across all of the dimensions. Of importance is the finding that few states which score poorly on the caregiving dimension are ranked in the top quartile overall. The report can be found at www.longtermscorecard.org/Report.
Assuring Healthy Caregivers, A Public Health Approach to Translating Research into Practice: The RE-AIM Framework [PDF - 7.2MB] presents key questions and methods to help program developers, planners and evaluators use the framework in their work on caregiving. Case examples applying the RE-AIM framework to a caregiver intervention program and a policy intervention are provided in addition to suggested resources for those interested in pursuing the use of RE-AIM for caregiver support programs and policies.
ReferencesState Scorecard on Long-Term Services and Supports for Older Adults, People with Physical Disabilities, and Family Caregivers [PDF - 1.45MB]
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