BOSTON, MA – Family First, the leading provider of caregiving solutions for employers and insurers, has released three urgent recommendations to address the growing crisis facing caregivers, employers, and our country.
New data from Family First’s Caregiver Risk Index (CRI) for the third quarter of 2023 reveal the highest level of stress and burnout among caregivers that Family First has ever recorded. Family First’s CRI measures each caregiver’s risk of burnout using a proprietary, evidence-based methodology.
“From our work at Family First, we know first-hand the challenges caregivers face,” said Sara MacDonald, Chief Operating Officer for Family First. “With the CRI, we have an objective, quantitative model for this burnout, and this latest data show the stress and burnout experienced by caregivers is at levels we’ve never seen before.”
With more than 73% of employees balancing caregiving and work, the stress on families includes financial challenges. The Department of Health and Human Services reports that people in these situations lose more than $522 billion in annual income, and research from AARP predicts lost GDP by as much as $4.1 trillion by 2050.
Family First urges federal, state, and local governments to address this crisis comprehensively by implementing critical initiatives, including:
- Expand Medicare Coverage to Include Home Care Services. Currently, Medicare covers the cost of certain home health services but not services to help a senior who needs help with activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing, or using the bathroom. For seniors who need this kind of help, families must either pay out of pocket or provide those services themselves. Medicare must follow the lead of Medicaid and the Veterans Administration by covering these services and compensating family caregivers appropriately.
- Create state-level ombudsman programs to help families needing educational advocacy. Caregiving is more than eldercare. Millions of parents care for children with intellectual and developmental disabilities, with the U.S. Department of Education reporting that in 2022, 6% of students identified with an intellectual disability, with some states reporting as high as 14.8%. Navigating the complexities of educational support is a significant burden on these families, especially those who can’t afford to pay a professional advocate.
- Coordinate government programs for caregivers across federal, state, and local agencies. Caregiver support programs need better federal, state, and community coordination. Family First urges the Biden administration to accelerate plans identified in the 50 Executive Orders issued earlier this year to address the caregiving crisis. Family First supports AARP’s strategy to focus government attention on ensuring that every caregiver has access to support and solutions, which far too many families don’t realize they already have.
“Caregiving is a public health crisis affecting tens of millions of Americans,” said Evan Falchuk, Family First CEO. “At a time when so many families face unsustainable levels of stress and burnout, policymakers have a tremendous opportunity to put in place solutions that will have a real, meaningful impact right away.”