Aging is one of life’s inevitabilities, but as we age, who takes care of us? It tends to be the daughters, sons, nephews, nieces, brothers, sisters, and spouses that bear the caregiver responsibility. As we took a closer look into the experience of the caregiver and the systems that support them, we uncovered a few key realities that led to our investment in TCARE.
Massive growth in demographics around caregiving
Currently, in the United States, there are over 53 million unpaid family caregivers, up from 43.5 million in 2015, and this is only expected to climb as our aging population continues to grow and live longer. This means for many of us, it’s not a question of ‘if’ but rather ‘when’ will we become caregivers.
Caregivers = Underserved Segment
25–30% of us will likely find ourselves in ‘Generation S’, also known as the Sandwich Generation. The Sandwich Generation refers to the group of caregivers that occupy both caregiving and parental roles in their families. With that much responsibility, it’s not difficult to see how caregiving can be a complex and stressful experience, and one that can often lead to financial strain, physical and mental health issues, and decreased work productivity.
Huge systemic costs to be saved by enabling aging in place
Beyond their immediate families, caregivers play a massive and often unacknowledged role in our healthcare system. If we were to pay caregivers for their work, it would cost us roughly $470bn. For reference, the total U.S spend on long term services and supports (LTSS) in 2016 was $366bn. Our healthcare system can not withstand the costs associated with serving those with long-term care needs.
That’s why when caregivers experience burnout, and can no longer occupy that role, the impact is felt well beyond their families. Employers have less productive employees, private healthcare payers must increase expenses to provide those LTSS activities, and insurance companies see an increase in claims and benefits payouts.
TCARE is backed by research and scientific expertise
We invested in TCARE because there is a dire need to support caregivers with proven solutions. TCARE is built on over 40 years of doctoral-level gerontology research, is ACL-accredited and CMS-approved, and is clinically proven through a study with the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services to be effective in measuring and reducing instances of caregiver burnout. No other solution has this level of empirical evidence to validate their ability to serve caregivers and healthcare systems alike.
It’s critical that we recognize that the struggles of being a caregiver are felt by all of us, and therefore it’s on all of us to find ways to support them. We need to get to our caregivers any way we can, whether it be through their employers, health providers, financial advisors, or even directly. And we need to get to them with solutions like TCARE. Solutions that we know will work.