Family caregiving estimated at $880 million in South Dakota

Family caregiving estimated at $880 million in South Dakota
Millions of family caregivers provide billions of dollars worth of care to loved ones each year, according to a new AARP study released today.�AARP estimates the economic value of family caregiving at $350 billion in 2006. In South Dakota the estimated value of this care is $880 million.

"Family caregivers play a vital role and are the backbone of long-term care in our state," said AARP South Dakota State Director, Sarah Jennings.�"While the care they provide often goes unnoticed, their contributions often delay or prevent more costly nursing home care and that can have a positive impact on our state Medicaid budget."

At $880 million, the economic value of caregiving in South Dakota is 1.43 times federal and state Medicaid expenditures (more than $615 million) in 2005. Not including federal dollars, the estimated value of caregiving is more than four times state Medicaid expenditures ($229 million FY 2007).

Most family caregivers are women who are employed full or part-time and nearly one-fifth of all U.S. workers are caregivers (19%). As family caregivers are forced to take time off and work partial days to care for their loved ones, they face lower wages, reduced job security, and loss of employment benefits like health insurance, lower retirement savings and Social Security earning.�These losses come at a difficult time when income and benefits are critical for the caregiver and their family.�U.S. businesses also feel the impact; productivity losses associated with caregiving are estimated as high as $33 billion a year.

The AARP Public Policy Institute study, "Valuing the Invaluable: A New Look at the Economic Value of Family Caregiving," shows that of those with the most intense level of caregiving responsibility, 92 percent report major changes in their working patterns – 83 percent arrive late, leave early or take time off during the day; 41 percent report taking a leave of absence; and 37 percent report going from full-time to part-time to adjust for their caregiving responsibilities.� Additionally, the caregivers' own health is often at risk as they are more likely to suffer chronic health conditions and incur medical debt than non-caregivers.

In South Dakota, AARP is working to ensure that more people can receive the care in the setting of their choice.� AARP South Dakota supported the study of the continuum of long-term care in South Dakota passed by the 2006 legislature, which is expected to be finished this fall.�

The complete study can be accessed at:

Serving 100,000 members in South Dakota,�AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization that helps people 50 and over have independence, choice and control in ways that are beneficial and affordable to them and society as a whole.

AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to either political campaigns or candidates.�We produce AARP The Magazine, published bimonthly; AARP Bulletin, our monthly newspaper; AARP Segunda Juventud, our bimonthly magazine in Spanish and English; NRTA Live & Learn, our quarterly newsletter for educators 50 and over; and our website, AARP Foundation is an affiliated charity that provides security, protection, and empowerment to older persons in need with support from thousands of volunteers, donors, and sponsors. We have staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

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