The Real Cost of Long-Term Care

By Nikhil Hutheesing - 2012-11-26T15:38:10Z

Photograph by Peter Zander/Getty Images

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The Value of Caregiving

"My mother's a sweetie," says Laurie Kaneshiro, an interior designer in Honolulu. "But I didn't realize the commitment I was making when I became her caretaker." Her mother suffers from a rare disease similar to Parkinson's. Kaneshiro had to be with her every minute and wasn't trained for it. After she left her job as an interior designer to take care of her mother, the stress led her to develop high blood pressure, hypertension and borderline diabetes. Susan Lutz, a project adviser for the AARP's Education & Outreach Health Team, says that there were 42 million family caregivers in 2009 and many, like Kaneshiro, become sick themselves.

$450 billion: Estimated value of caregiving by family and friends in 2009 (based on 42.1 million caregivers at 18.4 hours of care per week at an average cost of $11.16 per hour) -- AARP