Friday, August 04, 2006


Caregivers affect the Longterm care expenditure

A Family/Informal Caregiver may be described as an individual who provides care and/or support to a physically or mentally disabled family member, friend or neighbour who is suffering from a chronic desease. Now that people are turning away from institutional care with regards to the social diversions and effective policies, it has become more important to get them the much needed care back home or within the communities. There lies a great opportunity for family caregiving. Caregivers are thus playing a key role towards maintaining the home and community care sphere.

Some 4.6 million senior Americans have been estimated to be in real need of long-term care since they are not confined within nursing homes. The family members and informal caregivers of almost 90% of them are responsible for taking care of their basic daily activities eg. bathing, dressing, fooding as well as other associate activities like cooking, shopping, sweeping etc.

But the recent times have seen the most drastic changes in terms of informal caregiving with more access being passed on to the paid caregivers. This is simply due to the fact that more and more family members are gradually opting out of caregiving. Paid caregivers are capable of maintaining an informal way of caregiving thereby shifting the focus from the numerous nursing home care units.

One of the important factors contributing towards changes in the LTC expenditure growth pattern is the availability of a genuine informal caregiver eg. a spouse caregiver. A reduction of public funding in LTC may see the working women quit jobs and concentrate more on informal care very soon.

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