In the United States, there are 65 million family caregivers who provide unpaid care for a chronically ill, disabled, or aging relative—amounting to an estimated $375 billion a year in unpaid services. Many of these caregivers are also part of the Sandwich Generation, meaning they also work for a living and juggle caring for their own children. With the future of many government-funded programs such as Social Security and Medicare up in the air, the question of easing the financial burden of family caregivers struggling to do it all still remains.
According to the National Alliance for Caregiving (NAC), 47% of working caregivers say the increases in caregiving expenses have caused them to use up all or most of their savings. In addition to the financial aspects, the challenges of caring for an elderly loved one can be overwhelming and the resulting stress can lend itself to a whole slew of health issues for the caregiver.
Currently, the CLASS Act is supposed to be a long-term health insurance plan offered by the federal government, through employers, that would provide participants with the cash to help pay for needed caregiving assistance—basically a way for family caregivers to get paid a small sum. So far, the Obama administration has yet to put this into effect.