CHEYENNE - The unpaid care provided by the 58,000 caregivers in Wyoming is valued at $910 million, according to new state data available in AARP’s latest report in the Valuing the Invaluable series.
The report highlights the growing scope and complexity of family caregiving and offers actions needed to address the many challenges of caring for parents, spouses, and other loved ones.
As in the previous Valuing the Invaluable report, the economic value per hour at the state level is estimated as the average of the state minimum wage, state home health aide median wage, and state median hourly cost of hiring a home care worker. In all, the report suggests the state’s 58,000 caregivers provided 54 million hours of unpaid care at a value of $16.77 per hour.
“Family caregivers play a vital role in Wyoming’s health care system, whether they care for someone at home, coordinate home health care, or help care for someone who lives in a nursing home,” said AARP Wyoming State Director Sam Shumway. “We want to make sure all family caregivers have the financial, emotional and social support they need, because the care they provide is invaluable both to those receiving it and to their community.”
AARP Wyoming provides support to family caregivers and the loved ones who depend on them for care. For example, AARP Wyoming has worked with the State’s Legislature and Department of Health to continue to fund the Wyoming Home Services Program, as well as advocate for flexibility in the state’s Community Choices Waiver program, which provides home health services for those who have reached a Medicaid financial need and a nursing home level of care requirement.
According to AARP, nationally, care provided by millions of unpaid family caregivers across the U.S. is valued at a staggering, estimated $600 billion annually, according to the latest report in AARP's “Valuing the Invaluable” series. An estimated 36 billion hours of care annually is provided by family caregivers for older parents, spouses, partners, and friends with chronic, disabling, and serious health conditions.
By 2034, adults age 65 and older will outnumber children under the age of 18 for the first time. The share of available family caregivers is projected to continue shrinking relative to the number of older adults who will potentially need long-term care. In addition, family caregivers will continue to face the dual demands of employment and caregiving responsibilities, which often include caring for an older adult and children simultaneously.
AARP is pushing this year to turn the National Strategy to Support Family Caregivers into action that provides meaningful, tangible outcomes and support for family caregivers. The National Strategy, delivered to Congress last September, stemmed from the RAISE Family Caregivers Act, which is championed by AARP. The National Strategy highlights nearly 350 actions that the federal government will take and more than 150 that can be adopted by stakeholders and other levels of government to give family caregivers the help they need.
This year on Capitol Hill and state houses across the nation, AARP is continuing to fight to:
o Make providing care easier, including through expansion of resource navigation tools, caregiver training, and inclusion in care, as well as through increased access to paid care at home and other supports.
o Alleviate the financial and other challenges faced by many family caregivers that can undermine their own well-being, including better access to respite care, paid leave and financial relief such as through family caregiver tax credits and reimbursement programs.
o Improve the health and well-being of family caregivers, many of whom have seen their own personal situations worsen, including through needs assessments and other tools.
Read the full report for national and state-by-state data on the economic value of unpaid care by family and friends. Resources and information on family caregiving are available at aarp.org/caregiving.
This story is provided by AARP Wyoming. Visit the AARP Wyoming page for more news, events, and programs affecting retirement, health care, and more.
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