HealthCommentary

Exploring Human Potential

Smart Politicians Are Discovering Family Caregivers.

Posted on | January 6, 2020 | No Comments

Photo from AARP

Mike Magee

The 2020 elections are right around the corner – and the fight for advocates and constituents among the candidates is already engaged. Seniors have always been a target. But what about their caregivers?

A new survey sheds light on the politics of this constituency. Conducted Oct. 21 to Oct. 26, 2019, by Hart Research Associates it included 1,510 adults nationwide with these findings:

  • 37% Republican; 43% Democrat; 20% Independent.
  • 66% provide, or previously provided, care for an older relative, stay-at-home care for a preschool child, daily care for a disabled family member.
  • The caregivers estimated they spend 36 hours a week providing care. 55% are employed full-time; 69% are employed part-time.
  • 56% say there are not enough caregiving professionals to take care of those in need.
  • 85% of respondents are much more likely to support a candidate who support caregivers.
  • 82% support a federal program that everyone pays into for caregiving services.
  • And politicians – here’s the opportunity take-away: Due to caregiving responsibilities, a significant number have not voted in an election (20%), and currently feel out of the political loop.

What do politicians need to know?

  1. The old three-generation family – child, parent, grandparent – is rapidly giving way to a new model that can be four and even five generations deep.
  2. Roughly 25 percent of American families now rely on informal family caregivers to bridge the needs of these multi-generational families.
  3. These caregivers are mostly family members, predominately third-generation women between age 45 and 65, balancing the needs of parents and grandparents with children and grandchildren.
  4. As our health care system moves toward prevention and increasing reliance on family-based informal caregivers to ensure multi-generational health, it’s important that our elected officials anticipate the needs of those involved and offer timely response and intervention.

Finally, efforts to reduce disease, disability and death in frail seniors can contribute to a self-reinforcing virtuous cycle, since a decrease in the burden of these events in one person can have cascading benefits for other stressed family members. As aging experts have suggested, “Health care might indeed be more socially efficient, and more cost-effective, than is suggested by looking at individual cases alone.” 

Comments

Leave a Reply





Show Buttons
Hide Buttons