Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Caregiving: the caregiver initiative

U. S. Surgeon General, Richard H. Carmona and Johnson & Johnson Company recently launched The Caregiver Initiative

“… to call attention to the vital role that family caregivers now play, to help them maintain their own health and well-being while they care for others, and to prepare all Americans to better recognize and accept the responsibilities of caregiving that may well affect them personally as our society ages. …”

     Anything that may smack American culture upside the head and raise consciousness is positive. Personally I haven’t been too excited about this because of the Federal government’s involvement.

     The US government is inept with healthcare related issues. The Federal Bureaucracy by its nature is not ‘caring’. These are the same people who still haven’t figured out how to fix the Medicare D Prescription Plan debacle. Need I add New Orleans or Iraq to the Federal Government’s resume?

     I did find some statistical snippets fascinating in their “launch”:

The Impact of Caregiving on People's Health

….. Over the course of a caregiving “career,” family caregivers who provide intense personal care can lose as much as $659,000 in wages, pensions, and Social Security. (Easily true! Everything is exhausted and you have been unable to acquire any retirement assets).

….. Only 26% of caregivers provide care for more than 4 years. (At 15 years, I guess I should feel special.)

A Nation Ill-Prepared To Give or Receive Care

….. Only 41% of adults have set aside funds to cover additional expenses, only 40% have signed a living will or healthcare power of attorney.

….. Only 35 % of all adults said they had purchased disability income insurance, only 27% have purchased long-term care insurance.

….. Only 34 % of Americans say they have talked with a family member or friend about providing care to them in the future.

     I would have guessed those statistics. Our own friends and family would not score much better, and our story is in their face. What about you? If not GET BUSY, especially the 'living will' and 'health care power of attorney'. You probably have no idea how critical those two documents could become.

     Does this mean I’ll get a cool sticker for Patti’s wheelchair to place by the back handles that says “Surgeon General’s Warning: caregiving may be hazardous to your health.” <grin>

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the reminder, Patrick. We have done absolutely NOTHING and I mean NOTHING about a will, a living will, power of attorney, etc and I'm 48 and my husband is 53. So we are getting at that age, we are at that age. I think it should almost be a requirement as part of getting married for people to discuss that most likely one or the other is going to be a caregiver at some point in their married life.

    If you get a sticker for Patti's wheelchair, we want to see a picture :)



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