According to AARP, more than 40 million Americans are unpaid caregivers for elderly family members or friends. On average they spend more than 24 hours a week providing this service, with the value of their time alone estimated at $470 billion a year, and that’s before considering the impact on their career advancement from taking time off, or their own health from the added stress.
To put that $470B into perspective, it’s more than total Medicaid spending ($449B), and close to the annual sales of the four largest U.S. tech firms combined (Apple, Hewlett Packard, IBM and Microsoft), which came to $429B in 2013.
The following six short videos, each just 3 minutes or less, show what caregiving looks like. They’re from a contest sponsored by AARP and the Ad Council to feature the care given by friends and family. But what about those seniors who don’t have a support system? With changing demographics, their numbers are increasing, even as there are fewer left to provide care.
This first video, which shows friends taking on the role of “family” caregivers, earned AARP’s top prize.
In the Moment
In this 2nd place video, the brother and sister team of Jeff & Patti work together to help their 92 year-old mom Lulu live in the moment even as she struggles with dementia and the loss of short-term memory.
The Baton – Kaypri Marcus
Kaypri speaks of how thankful she is to have the opportunity to finish her mother’s autobiography about being a southern white woman involved in the civil rights movement. This reminds me of the importance of leaving a legacy and capturing your story while you can. (See related articles here).
Donating an unneeded van was a random act of kindness, and an unexpected blessing, for this family since their own minivan often needed repair and was on its last leg with more than 270,000 miles.
92 year-old Roberta’s daughter and grandson moved in to help her stay in the home she designed and built. Barbara’s role reversed from daughter to caregiver, and Blake formed a much deeper relationship with his grandmother.
It Takes a Family
This short shows what can happen when a wife becomes a caregiver and then needs to rely on additional help from her children and their spouses.
Share Your Story
I love how personal each of these stories are and would like to hear yours in the comments below or via email, and with your permission I’d like to share it as an article here, with whatever photos or videos you provide.