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Survey: Family Caregivers in AZ do $9.4 Billion in Unpaid Work

This portrait of caregiver Frank Ballasteros of Tucson and his Aunt Lupe was given to them as part of National Family Caregivers Month. Credit: AARP Arizona
This portrait of caregiver Frank Ballasteros of Tucson and his Aunt Lupe was given to them as part of National Family Caregivers Month. Credit: AARP Arizona
November 24, 2015

PEORIA, Ariz. - More than half of Arizonans over age 45 are either caring for a family member or have done so in the past. That's one of the findings of a new telephone survey by AARP Arizona in honor of National Family Caregivers Month.

AARP Arizona State Director Dana Marie Kennedy says of the 1,600 people surveyed, 60 percent of caregivers said they help out more than 30 hours a week, and use their own money to do it.

"There are over 805,000 caregivers in Arizona," says Kennedy. "Those caregivers are providing over 100 million hours of care each year valued at over $9.4 billion."

The survey also found one in three caregivers who works outside the home has had to change their work schedule to provide care for a loved one.

And Kennedy says family caregivers are often looking after members of more than one generation.

"The typical caregiver in Arizona is a 61-year-old woman who is married, has a college degree and a household income of at least $30,000," says Kennedy. "And in many instances, family caregivers are also taking care of younger family members, which would be considered the 'sandwich generation.'"

She says AARP is honoring these unsung heroes by choosing one person from each state and U.S. territory to receive a "Portrait of Care."

This year, they presented Frank Ballasteros of Tucson with a hand-painted picture of him and the woman he cares for, his aunt Lupe, who has dementia.

Suzanne Potter, Public News Service - AZ