80% of Americans want to die at home and that’s a good thing. But while the home hospice movement has been positive for the dying, in-home support is extremely limited, leaving family members to pick up the slack. 2017 was the first time in over a hundred years that more people died at home than in a hospital. But in bringing the dying home, 44 million non-professional caregivers are now working double-time and for free in jobs that they are completely untrained for.
Caregivers labor day and night to support the all-consuming needs of those with serious illness. Yet they are untrained, unpaid, and unsupported. It is no wonder that many of these unsung heroes suffer ruinous financial, mental, and physical health issues.
This problem is getting worse as baby boomers age, families shrink, dementia rates rise, and debt levels increase. The medical system has shifted the burden of care onto families, and there is no national strategy to support them.
Something must be done. If we don’t address the crisis of caregiver burden, we may all find ourselves struggling and alone during one of the most vulnerable times of our lives.
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