As National Family Caregivers Month comes to an end, WOW thanks caregivers across the country whose work makes it possible for millions of elders and persons with disabilities to live with dignity in their homes and communities. According to the National Alliance for Caregiving, 22 million Americans care for someone over the age of 50 and 60% of caregivers are women. Caregiving is essential to allowing many elders to age in place and the value of informal care that women provide ranges from $148 to $188 billion annually.
Informal caregiving, though necessary, can be detrimental to the economic security of women and their families. Many caregivers find themselves cycling in and out of the workforce, which limits their income both now and in the future. One-third of working women decrease their work hours when taking on caregiving responsibilities and almost 30% pass up a job promotion, training or assignment. Each of these examples explains the tough choices caregivers have to make and highlights the need for additional caregiver support systems. WOW supports allowing full-time caretakers to receive Social Security credits to increase their benefits in retirement as a step in the right direction. Currently, caretakers receive no credits when out of the workforce, which results in a smaller Social Security benefit in retirement.
Caregiving can be a daunting task and while there is more that needs to be done, current resources and networks strive to make caregiving easier for millions of Americans.
• Caregiver Community Action Network
• Top 10 Questions about Family Caregiving
• Financial Help and Advice for Caregivers
Take time today to thank a caregiver you know for all they do.
Communications & Program Coordinator
Elder Economic Security Initiative