Time (February 15)
Beatrice is one of 43 million unpaid caregivers in America, a number poised to spike as the Baby Boomers, who comprise most of the family caregivers now, join the ranks of the oldest old. “Family caregivers make up a silent support army — without them, health and social systems within our aging societies would be absolutely overwhelmed,” says Scott Williams, who oversees Embracing Carers, an international caregiving initiative for pharmaceutical company EMD Serono. The group conducted a survey of unpaid caregivers in 2017, which found that nearly half of family caregivers suffer from depression, and 45% did not have time to book or attend their own medical appointments as a result of their caregiving activities — thus putting caregivers at risk of falling ill and needing caregiving themselves. A 2002 Stanford University study found that 40% of Alzheimer’s and dementia caregivers actually die from stress-related disorders before the one for whom they are caring.