Friday, January 29, 2010

Caring for Caregivers

from a whitehouse blog by Obama Chronicles
January 28, 2010

This week the Middle Class Task Force unveiled a series of initiatives in the President's FY 11 budget that are aimed at helping families with soaring child care costs, balancing work with caring for elderly relatives or people with disabilities, paying for college, and saving for retirement. These are costs that – along with health care – have risen dramatically for families at a time when their incomes haven't. Some people call this "squeeze" because of the pressure these costs put on family budgets. But for many families it just seems like it is impossible to get ahead.

This is particularly true for the so-called "sandwich generation" – people who are caring for children (or grandchildren or adult children who are struggling financially) and their parents. The Vice President often speaks very personally about his experience caring for his parents and in-laws. And almost all of us know someone who has juggled caring for a parent or relative who can’t get along completely on their own. Millions of Americans provide unpaid care to aging relatives – including approximately 23 million caregivers with jobs and 12 million who are also caring for their own children. That's why the Middle Class Task Force’s "squeeze" initiative includes help for family caregivers.

These caregivers play a vital role in helping seniors stay in their communities or at home. But too often they don’t have the support they need to balance caregiving with work and family responsibilities. As Elinor Ginzler of AARP put it:

"AARP is grateful that the Middle Class Task Force has drawn attention to an issue that is deeply important to our members—the critical role of family caregivers and what we should be doing to help them. Approximately 65 million Americans provide care to a loved one, giving more than $375 billion worth of unpaid care each year—often at their own financial and emotional expense. Increasing support to these invaluable individuals would be an important step to help those who do so much to help others." more at Obama Chronicles

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