The people providing $600 billion in unpaid care

A study from the AARP Public Policy Institute found family caregivers in the U.S. provide $600 billion worth of unpaid care each year.

In Connecticut alone, there are 420,000 caregivers providing unpaid care, NBC Connecticut reported March 14. In 2021, they provided 390 million care hours, which amounts to $7.2 billion worth of care. The unpaid contributions have increased by $1.27 billion since 2019, according to the report.

"Family caregivers are literally holding up the entire healthcare system. They are the backbone of the healthcare system in America," Nora Duncan, AARP Connecticut State Director, told NBC Connecticut. "If a percent even of those caregivers said 'I can't do this,' and it was for an elderly population, that would probably turn over to the state to pick up the tab for that, in the form of nursing homes, in the form of Medicaid. We cannot afford that."

In addition, 30 percent of family caregivers are in the "sandwich generation," meaning they care for both children and elderly family members.

Connecticut AARP advocates are pushing for financial relief for these caregivers in the form of tax credits and other reimbursements programs, as well as flexible workplace policies, the report said.

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