The so­cial cost of care

Central Leader - - HEALTH& WELL-BEING -

‘‘Arthri­tis New Zealand is not sur­prised by the news that over 420,000 New Zealan­ders are pro­vid­ing un­paid care for friends or fam­ily,’’ chief ex­ec­u­tive San­dra Kirby says.

She is re­fer­ring to a re­port from In­fo­met­rics that analy­ses the so­cial cost of care­giv­ing.

The re­port has found that car­ers give an av­er­age 30 hours of un­paid care per week to ill, el­derly and dis­abled friends and fam­ily mem­bers each year, with a grand to­tal of 67 mil­lion hours across the coun­try per year, at an an­nual cost of be­tween $7.3 bil­lion and $17.6b.

This is the equiv­a­lent of be­tween 3.4 and 8.1 per cent of GDP.

‘‘We know many peo­ple living with arthri­tis need ad­di­tional sup­port.

‘‘The 2010 Ac­cess Eco­nomics Re­port on the Cost of Arthri­tis in New Zealand sug­gested that while 1.6 per cent of peo­ple with arthri­tis ac­cessed for­mal care, over 40 per cent of peo­ple re­lied on in­for­mal care­giv­ing pro­vided by fam­ily mem­bers or friends to as­sist them with rou­tine daily tasks like house­work, dress­ing, and bathing.

‘‘In 2010 the cost of car­ers for peo­ple with arthri­tis was es­ti­mated at $3.2b.

‘‘We all have a role to play in mak­ing care ar­range­ments work. And we sug­gest em­ploy­ers in par­tic­u­lar can help staff con­tinue to care for friends and fam­ily mem­bers who need their help.

‘‘Flex­i­ble work­ing ar­range­ments, time off to at­tend med­i­cal ap­point­ments for those un­der their care, and part-time work op­tions can all help to make a dif­fer­ence.’’

Wa­ter con­fi­dent: Lessons for chil­dren can start from as young as three months.

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