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Family Caregivers Saving Iowa Taxpayers 3.5 Billion

June 28, 2007

AARP has studied the value of family caregivers and concludes it is worth billions. Anthony Carroll with Iowa AARP says 92 percent of caregivers report major changes in their work schedule to care for a loved one; 43 percent report having to take a leave of absence; and 37 percent report being forced to take a part-time job. Carroll says employers could establish family friendly practices, and government could help.

“For instance, expansion of adult day services so people who are family caregivers who work otherwise have some options to help them with their care giving.”

Carroll reports that the dollar value of the services family caregivers provide is $350 billion nationally and $3.5 billion in Iowa.

“Now that is one-and-a-half times what we spend total on Medicaid, and also it's over three times as much as what we spend in Medicaid and long term spending.”

Carroll notes that is money Iowa taxpayers would be paying if no one was providing this care. He adds that AARP, has worked with the Iowa Department of Elder Affairs to help promote www.LifeLongLinks.org, a web-based system designed to improve access to information and services for caregivers.

Dick Layman/Eric Mack, Public News Service - IA