I care for my Aunt Nora and Uncle Mike. Nora is 92, legally blind and diabetic. Mike has had heart-valve replacement, has COPD and is hypertensive. He is 85. Without my support—and the support of others in my family—both would have to leave their home and receive care in a nursing home. I love my aunt and uncle and I am not alone. I am a caregiver.
I am but one of 66 million caregivers in the United States—fully 29% of our population. We work full-time jobs and spend twenty additional hours per week cleaning, cooking meals, retrieving medications and coordinating doctor’s visits. We often need to leave work early or arrive late because of emergencies, and the economy suffers $30 billion per year in lost productivity as a result. For the most part, we are unpaid and the value of our services—$500 billion—equals either the cost of Medicaid or Medicare. We toil in the background, largely ignored by the $3 trillion health care ecosystem, but we are the backbone of that system. We are the “safe discharge option.” We are caregivers.
Seniorlink was founded fifteen years ago to support the most important member of the care team—the caregiver—who support elders and people with disabilities. Caregivers need our commitment to match theirs. They want to be valued both by medical professionals and those who pay the bills. They need tools and strategies to manage complex diseases encompassing physical and cognitive decline. They need help coordinating care, understanding medications and managing risk. They need simple and effective technology to manage unnecessary complications and to reduce their own anxiety. They are caregivers.
The Promise Behind Our Mission
Today, we're renewing Seniorlink's mission with a promise: to Stand with the Caregiver Nation. We've been standing with caregivers since 2000, and this promise articulates our commitment to continue doing so as the number of caregivers grows to exceed 60 million across America. We'll continue to support thousands of caregivers through our innovative Structured Family Caregiving model at Caregiver Homes, and we'll reach many more through our new technology platform, Vela. Along with this promise, the updated look and feel of our brands is in keeping with our encompassing goal to provide innovative resources, advocacy and insights to caregivers as they fulfill their vital role in the lives of loved ones.
We are honored to work alongside the most committed among us, those who sacrifice so much for the sake of others. Caregivers are the silent heroes among us and we are their partners as they care for their loved ones with dignity.