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Family Caregivers Count

In honor National Family Caregivers Month (November), we’ve launched two campaigns to help family caregivers count:

1. “A Dollar A Day, Every Day, for My Future.” Long-term care costs continue to increase* as family caregivers lose an estimated $3 trillion in wages, pension and Social Security benefits.** How will today’s family caregivers going to pay for their own care? How will a family caregiver today, tapped out financially because of the costs of caregiving and the impact of a recession, have any money to pay for the care they may need in our future? To help family caregivers plan for their future, Caregiving.com has launched an initiative: “A Dollar A Day, Every Day, for My Future.” The initiative asks family caregivers to put away a dollar every day for their future.

(Take out an envelope right now and write on it: “A Dollar A Day, Every Day, for My Future.” Then, put $1 (or four quarters or 10 dimes) in that envelope every day. When you save $100, open up a back account. Make a deposit every week. Do it for the rest of your life.)

2. Family Caregiver Database: To capture demographics about family caregivers, their health and their experience, Caregiving.com has launched a Family Caregiver Database. Persons caring for a family member or friend can add their details to our Family Caregiver Database here.

*Costs rose 4.4% or greater for those requiring long-term care in the U.S.,according to the newly released 2011 MetLife Market Survey of Nursing Home, Assisted Living, Adult Day Services, and Home Care Costs conducted by the MetLife Mature Market Institute.

**Americans who provide care for their aging parents lose an estimated three trillion dollars in wages, pension and Social Security benefits when they take time off to do so, according to “The MetLife Study of Caregiving Costs to Working Caregivers: Double Jeopardy for Baby Boomers Caring for Their Parents.” Produced by the MetLife Mature Market Institute in conjunction with the National Alliance for Caregiving and the Center for Long Term Care Research and Policy at New York Medical College, the study reports that individually, average losses equal $324,044 for women and $283,716 for men. The percentage of adults providing care to a parent has tripled since 1994.

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About Denise Brown

Avatar of Denise
I began working with family caregivers in 1990 and launched CareGiving.com in 1996 to help and support them. Through my blog, I share words of comfort and offer coping strategies and tips. I also write opinion pieces about recent research, community programs and media coverage of caregiving issues.

10 comments

  1. Have you ever been a caregiver for real – we raid the cookie jar (not envelope) for out of pocket costs and emergency expenses. Suggesting we put away a dollar a day is not a campaign, its an insult.

    • Bella, I think we have all probably gone through real tough financial times when having an extra dollar every day seemed impossible. I’ve been there, I’ve wished I had an extra dollar a day. It’s an awful, awful feeling to wonder how you’re going to pay for an emergency or other out of pocket expenses. Eventually, we get through those tough times (although it doesn’t seem like it at the time). This dollar a day idea may not work for you right now but that doesn’t mean it’s not a great idea or good goal to work towards. I have my envelope in my purse and have been adding to it.

      I’m not sure how long you’ve been on the site but Denise works tirelessly to help caregivers and would never insult any caregiver or caree. She is not getting rich off of this life’s work of hers. She created and nurtured this supportive site and has helped countless people. I hope you continue to read and enjoy the education and resources Denise provides. Just please remember the caregivers here are very supportive of each other and of Denise. Please don’t suggest Denise is doing anything other than looking out for the caregiver and caree and has them safely in her heart.

      I think if you take a look at the site and the things Denise does, you’ll understand what I’m saying.

  2. Oh my, I don’t look at this as an insult at all.

    I wish someone had cared enough about me nine years ago (when I became a caregiver) to suggest something like this.

    I look at the dollar – the saving – the setting aside – in two ways. If I am looking at it short term for my emotional health – one year of a dollar a day, is enough for twenty hours of help.

    Longterm (as you’re suggesting) setting aside a dollar a day, for ten years could contribute to our retirement fund – something I’ve never been able to do; something we thought (prior to caregiving) we would both do. To sacrifice one dollar a day is worth thousands.

    Denise, your insight for caregivers is beyond anything I’ve ever experienced. Thank you for continuing to piece the caregiving puzzle together for each of us.

    On tonight’s show I so appreciated your sensativity that caregivers may not feel like they have a “Saturday or Sunday” – a change from the daily routine. I’ve never had that phrased to me this way. Just hearing it, will give me a Saturday. (: Thank you.

    In all you do, in all you stand for, you always think about the caregiver. What a wonderful advocate you are for us. I’m so proud to know you and to be a part of the family you’ve created here at Caregiving.com.

  3. Avatar of Denise

    Thanks so much, Bette and Trish. :)

    In the grind of the day, as Bette spoke of last night, we can forget about our future. Maybe a $1 a day is not realistic right now, but I hope putting something away every day is. When the future arrives, I’d like to have my envelope ready. (And, I soooo wish I had been saving $1 a day since I started working. Life would be easier today.)

  4. I like the idea of saving $1 a day. Whether or not someone actually does it, even thinking about it gives them a chance to think about their own future. Personally, saving $1 a day or a week will do more for me than writing on a doctor’s form that I am a caregiver. Doctors don’t know what to do with that information.

    I love the support I receive here at Caregiving.com. It has been the best source of help that I have found in caregiving.

  5. I saw Bella’s comment yesterday and I refrained from responding because I didn’t want to be rude while sticking up for Denise. I will only say that I absolutely agree with both Bette and G-J and couldn’t have said it better myself.

    If it wasn’t for Denise and this group I don’t know where I would be.

    Hugs:o)
    Jane~mom to Nicole, 17 yo, VSD, PAH, Eisenmenger’s, BHJS

  6. I just read this post and was not insulted at all. Even though I haven’t been on here much, I am grateful to Denise and Caregiving.com for all of the insight I receive when it comes to being a caregiver. It’s not easy being a caregiver in any respect but finding people who care is the best part!

    Thank you Denise for being you!

  7. I never have $1.00 a month left over. I take care of my mother that is 93 years old and has dementia. I get a social security check and so does she. I am not working at this time because i need to be home with her. I have tried to find a part time job but have not found one. If you know how I can save a dollar a day it would be very beneficial. I havent been on this site at all because I did not know about it. What I have seen looks really valuable. Thank you

    • Avatar of Denise

      Hi Rhonda–I’m so glad you’ve found us! I look forward to getting to know you better. I also have a very, very tight budget and sometimes wonder how I’ll find an extra dollar. I also run a tight ship so, for me, it’s not about cutting back but about finding extra. My suggestions on how to find the extra dollar may sound a little odd, but they have worked for me when I thought my fridge would just stay empty: 1. When I take a walk, I pick up every penny (or dime or quarter) I see. Pennies are everywhere! When I pick it up, I say something like, “Thank you so much for this abundance!” 2. I keep money (a dollar, pennies, quarters) where I can see them so I remind myself I am surrounded by money. 3. I save all my coins in a jar, which can add up. These coins have really come in handy. Once a year, I take my coins to the bank to cash them in. Saving coins is a great way to come up extra money. 4. I will ask myself, “Where will I find money today?” and then I’ll find it.

      Keep looking for your part-time job. No matter how long it takes and how frustrating the search can seem, don’t give up. Believe in your abundance and be ready to receive it every day.

      Hope this helps. :)

  8. Avatar of

    It is always good to save if you can. I put offstarting a 401 K until a couple yrs ago and I finally realized I needed to do it and just started with 1% of my pay which my employer matches. I was hoping to go up a % this year, but then they raised our health benefit cost, SO much for that for now. I have been there where you don’ have two extra dollars ever. It is not fun, but it is a learning experience. God Bless you all in your struggles. Caregiving is a hard job and often a thankless one.

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