According to AARP, 43.5 million Americans are caregivers, and although they do it out of love and obligation, caring for a loved one takes a personal and financial toll.
The economic impact is surprisingly high. It was over $480B/year in 2009, a figure that includes lost worker productivity, reduced earning capacity & retirement income, and increases in their own physical & emotional health and related costs. That’s about 3.2% of the U.S. GDP ($14.1 trillion in 2009). It’s more than the $361B in Medicaid spending. And it’s nearly as much as the $509B in 2009 Medicare spending. It’s also more than half of what we spend on defense. The burden is even worse for long-distance caregivers.
The infographic below details caregiving in the U.S.