Whether you like Carole King or James Taylor, most of us know the words of this song by heart -
When you're down and troubled
And you need some love and care
And nothing, nothing is going right
Close your eyes and think of me
And soon I will be there
To brighten up even your darkest night
Facts and figures – By 2030, older Americans are expected to exceed 70 million. We are living longer. That can be good and bad. Not to be a Debbie Downer but, living longer can mean that those chronic conditions and a lifetime of unhealthy habits can catch up with us. The care for this population will fall on family and friends. These unpaid caregivers could be you and me. The caregiving situation is leading to a global crisis.
Let’s look at one disease that causes a heavy toll on society, Alzheimer’s. Currently, there are more than 6 million Americans living with this disease and the number by 2050 is expected to be 14 million. As of today, over 11 million people provide unpaid care for people with some form of dementia. This care includes over 15 billion hours of care that is valued at $257 billion. That is billion with a ‘B’.
A few more caregiver numbers – Close to 60% of the caregivers work full time – More than a third have children or grandchildren living at home – About 15% live over an hour from the person for which they care.