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FROM THE EDITOR'S PEN  /Inconvenient Truths /  Editorial List

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Inconvenient Truths

According to Mark Twain, “There are lies, damn lies and statistics.”  Normally I feel the same as Mr. Clemens on the subject but some recent statistics have gotten much attention on Capitol Hill and other such hallowed halls. Although, I feel as if I am preaching to the pews, maybe you’ll find the following list as interesting as I do:

  • The value of "free" services provided by informal family caregivers to their chronically ill, disabled or aged loved ones jumped to $306 billion, a 19 percent increase over four years. That's according to a state-by-state analysis of the number of family caregivers, hours of service and estimated market value conducted for the National Family Caregivers Association and the Family Caregiver Alliance. New York is the third-largest caregiving state with services provided valued at $20 billion, behind California and Texas.

  • Although we know that depression is a major factor in most caregiving, according to a Yale study, 30 percent of the respondents with loved ones in hospice care experienced what could be described as a major depressive disorder.

And not to put too fine a point of the power of statistics to make people sit up and take notice – proposals for new Alzheimer’s funding is on the floor of the congress and the Lifetime Respite Care Act is about to finally become funded, all due to hard working legislators, advocates and ---statistics.

By the way, here is one more statistic I think you might find interesting -

  • According to a Stanford University study, 40 percent of Alzheimer's caregivers will die from stress-related disorders before the loved ones for whom we care.

The only reason to go over these facts is to make sure you know that although the things we do for our loved ones we do out of love and concern, the statistics support the fact that the most important person to take care of turns out to be yourself.

See you at the Miami Fearless Caregiver conference next week!


Gary Barg

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