Family caregivers are the most ignored providers of health care delivery despite the fact they constitute 30 percent of the adult population, or are 65 million Americans. Caregivers are more typically women, over fifty, spending 20 hours a week (over an average of five years) providing care most frequently for a family member typically a parent with dementia. They are literally the backbone of health care. Professionally, caregivers, half of whom work full time, incur lost wages, promotions, health insurance, retirement savings and frequently suffer deleterious physical and mental health effects. Nearly 80 percent of caregivers report needing more help and information with at least 14 specific topics related to caregiving.
During this 31 minute interview Ms. Mintz discusses the varied and substantive contributions caregivers make and how their efforts can be better supported.
Ms. Suzanne Mintz is the cofounder of the nonprofit the Caregiver Action Network (formerly the National Family Caregivers Association), an organization that provides both direct support for caregivers and advocates for legislative reform and other policy changes. Currently Ms. Mintz also serves on the board of National Patient Safety Foundation, the advisory council of the National Transitions of Care Coalition and the advisory board of the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease. She was honored for her work in 2006 as one of the first 15 winners of the Purpose Prize. She has written several books, the latest is A Family Caregiver Speaks Up: It Doesn't Have to Be This Hard and has published numerous articles on and for family caregivers. She holds a BA in English from Queens College, City University of New York and a MS in Human Ecology from the University of Maryland.
For more on the Caregiver Action Network, see: http://caregiveraction.org/