Florida Family Caregivers Provide $31 Billion in Unpaid Care to Family, Friends at Home

Posted on 11/01/19 by Dave Bruns

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
November 1, 2019

MEDIA CONTACT:
Dave Bruns, 850.228.2759 or dbruns@aarp.org

St. Petersburg, Fla. — In Florida, America’s grayest state, approximately 2.9 million family caregivers provided an estimated 2.4 billion hours of care per year worth a staggering $31 billion to their parents, spouses, partners, and friends in 2017, according to state data available in the latest report of AARP’s Valuing the Invaluable series.

The complexity of family caregiving is increasing as medical and nursing tasks continue to enter the home, and family demographics change amidst an aging population.

“Family caregivers in Florida take on these responsibilities out of love,” said AARP’s Florida state director, Jeff Johnson. “But they’re also providing care that otherwise would have to come out of federal, state and local budgets.”

“That’s why investing in support for Florida’s families is essential. You may or may not ever think of yourself as a caregiver, but the contributions of family caregivers are vital to the future of our families, our communities and our public budgets,” Johnson said.

AARP is fighting to support family caregivers and the older family and friends who count on them. Earlier this year, AARP Florida joined with elder-care industry and labor groups to form the Coalition for Silver Solutions. The coalition is crafting a multi-year blueprint to improve the care of frail older Floridians while making the most efficient use of public resources. For more information on the coalition’s recommendations to improve elder care, go to www.silversolutionscoalition.org .

Florida already has the nation’s highest percentage of residents age 65-plus, and more than half of the 900 new residents moving to the state every day are age 60 or older.

While older Floridians add tens of billions to the state’s economy, Florida also must prepare for a future with larger numbers of older residents – some of whom will need help with activities of daily living, Johnson said.

In 2020, AARP will continue to fight for commonsense solutions to give family caregivers more support, help at home, training and more. Those solutions include:

  • Providing an inflationary increase for 2020 Medicaid nursing-home reimbursement in Florida for the first time in six years.
  • Securing enough funding to cope with growth and gradually reduce long waiting lists for support for in-home care for family caregivers. More than 72,000 families currently are on state waiting lists for caregiver support services.
  • Creating a proactive evaluations system that can spot caregivers about to go into crisis and more effectively intervene. When family caregivers’ health or finances collapse from the strain of providing care, frail elders often end up in hospitals or nursing homes.

Today’s AARP study reflects significant increases in the number and value of contributions of family caregivers. In 2011, an AARP report estimated Florida had about 2.7 million caregivers, who provided care worth $29 billion. AARP will issue the full report later in November with greater detail and policy recommendations.

To review state figures and the methodology, visit: www.aarp.org/valuing.

Resources and information on family caregiving, including AARP’s Prepare to Care Guides, are available at www.aarp.org/caregiving.

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About AARP
AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering people 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With a nationwide presence and nearly 38 million members, AARP strengthens communities and advocates for what matters most to families: health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment. AARP also produces the nation's largest circulation publications: AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. To learn more, visit www.aarp.org or follow @AARP and @AARPadvocates on social media.

This story is provided by AARP Florida. Visit the AARP Florida page for more news, events, and programs affecting retirement, health care, and more.

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