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Public Policy & Aging Report

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Caregivers -- Case studies, Public Policy


The U.S. population is aging rapidly. The changing demographics offer several benefits and opportunities at local, national, and global levels (Kluge, Zagheni, Loichinger, & Vogt, 2014). Yet, living to an advanced age remains a significant risk factor for the need of care and support during one’s lifetime. Half of all adults 65 years of age and older will reach a point where they require a high level of support due to either physical or cognitive challenges (Tumlinson, Juring, & Alkema, 2016). At the same time, the number of older adults living with chronic disease (e.g., diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and dementia, etc.) is increasing (AARP, 2017). Consequently, as many as 41 million Americans act as caregivers to older adults, with a projected economic impact of $470 billion, an amount higher than the total annual spend on all paid long-term services and supports (LTSS) in the United States (Reinhard, Feinberg, Houser, Choula, & Evans, 2019). The role that family caregivers play in the provision of care will only continue to grow as the U.S. population ages, and LTSS continue to rely on the family as the first line of care and support to aging adults.


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