Honoring Our Nation's Caregivers

November marks National Family Caregivers month, acknowledging the invaluable effort made by those who provide care for their loved ones.  Describing the efforts of caregivers as “invaluable,” however, is not entirely true.  In recent years, as researchers, policymakers, and other interested parties have come to recognize how essential the contributions of informal family caregivers are to America’s long term care system, efforts have been made to quantify the value of caregivers.  A recent AARP study conservatively estimated the economic value family caregiving at $450 billion in 2009, nearly equal to total Medicare expenditures that same year.  More than anything, this tells us family caregivers serve as an essential component of long term care for older adults and not merely a small complementary piece. Even as recognition of the value of caregivers increases, the need for resources remains ever present. Recognizing this need, CARIE established the Caregiver GPS, an interactive web-based resource that helps caregivers better understand their options while working at their own pace without any red tape. Additionally, CARIE LINE advocates are available Monday through Friday from 9am-5pm to discuss caregiver challenges, provide advice, and connect caregivers and their loved ones to resources.  Callers will always have the opportunity to talk to an advocate during normal business hours. Visit www.caregivergps.org for more information, or call the CARIE LINE at 215-545-5728 or 1-800-356-3606 to speak with a CARIE LINE advocate today. Written by Paul Vande Stouwe, CARIE MSW Intern

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