Caregiving – Why do we only care when it affects our pocketbook?

The issue of informal caregiving got a little more profile than usual recently as both the Alzheimers society and the Investors Group released their reports. The Alzheimers Society released a report entitled Rising Tide: The Impact of Dementia in Canada which predicts that the economic burden of dementia will double every decade until it reaches $153 billion per year in 2038.

For up to 48 hours, this report dominated the news cycle. Some attention was even paid to caregiver support because it was one of the recommendations offered to mitigate this apparent looming crisis. Click here to read a summary of the report

Meanwhile, the Investors Group also published a report that said caregivers were overburdened and could hardly afford to invest in their own retirement because of the steep expenses they faced. It found that 40% of boomers are spending an average of $6000 a year to care for their aging parents.Click here to read a summary of the report

This echoes what CARP has been saying for a long time. Caregivers need to be supported because they give of themselves: emotionally and financially while taking pressure off the public healthcare system. Most people want to care for their family members or loved ones but often need a some support to be able to keep providing this great service.

Supporting caregivers is not only cost-effective and logical, but absolutely essential because they are already overburdened. Its unfortunate that this issue only manages to grab headlines when healthcare costs threaten to spiral out of control or when the investment industry fears that would-be retirement dollars will go towards the purchase of healthcare instead.

Keywords: mental impairment, caregivers, costs