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Are We Already Changing Our Economy?

Caregiving is an economic issue.

During a caregiving experience, two people fall out of the community — a caree and a family caregiver. When we fall out of the community, we take our money with us. We may not have the time or resources or energy or budget to spend money in our communities like we did before our caregiving experience began. (I shared more of these insights during my Future of Caregiving presentation at last year’s National Caregiving Conference.)

Because it’s an economic issue, I follow trends in how and where we’re spending money. I also follow marketing trends, especially insights from Chris Brogan. I read his Sunday morning newsletter faithfully. In his latest newsletter, he wrote:

You have to keep an eye on your customers and how they are changing or YOUR habits in the business will stop fitting them.

Take restaurants. People aren’t dining out as much, but they’re paying for delivery services more (like DoorDash and Uber Eats).

Take movies. People aren’t going to the cinema as much, but they’re paying for Netflix and Amazon Prime.

We have to wonder, of course, what’s driving this change. Typically, we look to the younger generations who do not watch television like my siblings and I did as kids. With more options, the younger generations walk past the set and head for their tablet or smart phone to watch videos.

What if the next generation is driving this change because they are also a generation of family caregivers? According to AARP, 25% of family caregivers are millennials. More than 40 million individuals in the U.S. care for a family member which means 10 million are millennials.

It’s important to note that the statistics around the number of family caregivers in the U.S. varies; 40 million falls on the lower end of the spectrum. Some research suggests that the number of family caregivers is much higher — like one in three in the U.S. These numbers will drive our economic habits — what we buy, what we can afford and what we need.

Because caregiving is an economic issue, it’s critical we look to solutions which keep the family caregiver and caree within the community. To do that, our definition of community may change. Restaurants and movie theaters may have to adjust their view of how they connect to their community of customers. We no longer have the energy, budget or time to get to them which is why they must to deliver to us.

Our caregiving experience means we face challenges that keep us in the house. The businesses that understand this will bring the community to us, which will keep them in business.

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About 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. I've written several caregiving books, including "The Caregiving Years, Six Stages to a Meaningful Journey," "Take Comfort, Reflections of Hope for Caregivers" and "After Caregiving Ends, A Guide to Beginning Again." You can purchase my books and schedule a coaching call with me in our store.

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