Fallon Health hosts conference on family caregiving

Co-author with AARP of caregiver study to deliver keynote

Worcester, Mass., May 30, 2017 — The caregiver experience is different for every family but they all have something in common—emotional and financial stress. Fallon Health is convening a forum in which experts and policymakers will discuss family caregiving and what can be done to support caregivers. “The Costs of Caregiving” will take place from 7 a.m. to noon on Tuesday, June 6, at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Boston–Westborough.

“As our senior population grows, more people will face the responsibility and stresses involved in caregiving, creating new issues for families, employers and society as a whole,” said Richard Burke, President and CEO of Fallon Health. “With our organization’s focus on senior care and our commitment to people of all ages, health statuses and income levels, we are excited to convene a discussion on an issue so important to every family.”

The keynote address will be delivered by C. Grace Whiting, J.D., COO of the National Alliance for Caregiving. Ms. Whiting helped produce the Caregiving in the U.S. 2015 study with AARP, part of an ongoing body of research on caregiving since 1997. A discussion will follow with featured panelists Alice Bonner, Massachusetts Secretary of Elder Affairs; Kathleen Greer, Founder and Chairman, KGA Inc., an employee assistance program; Nicole McGurin, M.S., Programs Director, Family Services, Alzheimer’s Association; and Janet Rico, Assistant Dean, Nursing Graduate Programs, Northeastern University, and Chair, The Arc of Massachusetts Steering Committee, which works to enhance the lives of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

The conference schedule is as follows:
7:00–8:00 a.m.—Registration, networking and breakfast
8:00–9:30 a.m.—Welcome and keynote address
10:00–11:30 a.m.—Panel discussion

In her keynote address, Whiting will draw from the “Caregiving in the U.S.” report and similar data analyses on special populations of caregivers, including those who care for someone with serious mental illness, cancer or dementia. Findings from the Caregiving report found that:

  • While the typical family caregiver is a 49-year-old woman, caregivers are increasingly diverse. Nearly a quarter of caregivers today are millennials between the ages of 18 and 34, and 40 percent are men.
  • Caregivers spend an average of 24.4 hours a week helping with activities such as bathing, dressing, housework and managing finances. Thirty-four percent of caregivers also have a full-time job and 25 percent work part-time.
  • Caregivers have an average household income of $45,700 and report experiencing difficulty finding support services such as delivered meals, transportation and in-home services.
  • Thirty-eight percent of caregivers report high emotional stress.

 “There’s no more pressing issue as our society ages than how we will care for each other,” noted Whiting. “Organizations like Fallon Health are asking the right questions about how we can tackle rising health care costs and maintain high-quality health outcomes for older adults and people living with disabilities. I’m honored to be a part of this forum to identify forward-looking, innovative solutions that can maintain dignity and health for people who are managing life-altering illness.”

Carrie Wattu

About Fallon Health
Founded in 1977, Fallon Health is a leading health care services organization that supports the diverse and changing needs of those we serve. In addition to offering innovative health insurance solutions and a variety of Medicaid and Medicare products, we excel in creating unique health care programs and services that provide coordinated, integrated care for seniors and individuals with complex health needs. Fallon has consistently ranked among the nation’s top health plans, and is accredited by the National Committee for Quality Assurance for its HMO, Medicare Advantage and Medicaid products.